Slain Al Jazeera journalist’s family: US refuses our appeal for investigation

Abu Akleh’s niece said Blinken and other officials declined to provide any further information.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

A relative of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh said Wednesday that the Biden administration’s top diplomat refused her face-to-face appeal to push for a full U.S. investigation into the killing of the veteran television correspondent.

Niece Lina Abu Akleh also said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. officials declined, in meetings with her this week, to provide any further information.

A July 4 statement issued by the State Department concluded that Israeli forces likely fired the shot that killed Shireen Abu Akleh in May, but that there was no indication Israelis intentionally shot the veteran Al Jazeera correspondent.

“I felt like we left the meeting with more questions. And our questions were still not answered,” her 27-year-old niece told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday at the Capitol, where she pressed lawmakers for help obtaining more answers.

State Department spokesman Ned Price did not immediately address questions from the AP about the niece’s account of her discussion Tuesday with Blinken.

Price referred instead Wednesday to his earlier remarks to reporters that Blinken was meeting with Shireen Abu Akleh’s family to express a “message of condolence … and a message of the priority we attach to accountability going forward,” as well as to hear from her survivors.

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Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on May 11 in Jenin, a hotbed of terror in the PA-administered areas of Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian eyewitnesses, including the journalist’s crew, claim that Israeli troops killed her and that there were no terrorists in the immediate vicinity or any exchange of fire at the time she was shot. Reports indicate, however, that the IDF was in a firefight with terrorists when the incident occurred.

The Palestinian Authority had declined to participate in a joint Israel-Palestinian investigation into the shooting and refused to turn over the bullet that killed her for an IDF ballistic examination.

Despite a preliminary statement from the Palestinian Health Ministry saying that it was unclear who fired the shot that killed Abu Akleh, PA officials and the anti-Israel Al Jazeera network immediately blamed Israel.

Israel denies its forces deliberately targeted her, but says an Israeli soldier may have hit her by mistake during an exchange of fire with a terrorist.