IDF says it’s examining bullet which killed Al Jazeera reporter

Palestinian Authority transferred bullet which killed Shireen Abu Akleh to Israel via US intermediary, prompting IDF to begin forensic examination.

By World Israel News staff

The Israeli military has begun forensic tests on the bullet which killed an Al Jazeera reporter this May, after the Palestinian Authority transferred the bullet to U.S. investigators, Haaretz reported on Sunday.

The report contradicted Palestinian claims that Israel would not have access to the bullet.

On Sunday, IDF spokesperson Ran Kochav announced that the bullet which fatally wounded Arab-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh had been transferred to Israel via an American intermediary.

As a condition of the Palestinian Authority’s handover of the bullet, the IDF examinations will be conducted with an American observer.

“The bullet was handed over to the Americans and will undergo a professional Israeli test in their presence. This is an IDF check, an IDF interrogation in an American presence, an Israeli interrogation,” Kochav said.

“The Palestinians agreed to hand over the bullet to the Americans in order for an Israeli investigation to be conducted in their presence.”

Israeli sources told Haaretz it may not be possible to determine who fired the bullet, simply by examining the round itself.

On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority agreed to transfer the bullet to American officials, while continuing to refuse Israel’s demands that the IDF be allowed to conduct its own examinations of the bullet.

“Approval has been given for the American side to conduct a forensic examination of the bullet that killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The bullet will not be turned over to Israel,” PA Public Prosecutor Akram al-Khatib told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

Akleh, 51, was fatally wounded during a firefight between Israeli security forces and terrorists in Jenin in May.

The IDF says its soldiers may have hit her, but the reporter may have been killed by Palestinian gunfire. Israel stresses it does not target journalists. IDF investigators have narrowed down the rifle that may have fired the shot.

Prior to the transfer Sunday, Palestinian Authority officials have refused to cooperate with Israeli investigators, stymying Israel’s probe of the deadly shooting.

The handover of the bullet Sunday comes  ahead of President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit. Biden is scheduled to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia July 13-16.

The White House is facing Congressional pressure to get to the bottom of Abu Akleh’s death, including letters from bipartisan and Democratic lawmakers.