Israel says ‘high possibility’ its army killed Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh

Israel has said there is a “high possibility” that slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was “accidentally hit” by Israeli army fire.

However, Israel added that it would not be launching a criminal investigation.

Akleh, the veteran reporter was shot dead on 11 May this year when she was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin, State of Palestine.

Multiple detailed investigations, including by the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and several media outlets, including CNN and The Associated Press news agency, found that Abu Akleh was definitively shot by Israeli fire and that there were no Palestinian fighters at the scene when she was killed.

Israeli authorities released on Monday afternoon the results of their investigation into the killing. Witnesses, Al Jazeera, and numerous investigations by the United Nations, human rights groups, and media organisations have found that an Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh.

The Israeli investigation said that its soldiers had come under fire from Palestinian fighters at the scene, a claim that has not been corroborated by footage of the incident, reported Al Jazeera.

“It is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire which hit and killed Ms. Abu Akleh,” the report said, adding that it remains a “possibility” that she “was hit by bullets fired by armed Palestinian gunmen”.

“After a comprehensive examination of the incident, and based on all the findings, the Military Advocate General found that under the circumstances of the case, there is no suspicion of a criminal offense that justifies the opening of a Military Police investigation,” read the report.

Senior Israeli army officials told reporters that they had met the soldier, and that “if he did it, he did it by mistake”.

They also repeatedly said they were “very proud of the conduct of our soldiers” and that the soldiers “were briefed and acted according to procedure”.

Akleh was a veteran correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic TV and a household name in the Arab world. She had worked with the Al Jazeera for more than 25 years covering Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Her killing caused global outrage and mass calls for an independent investigation, which Israel has refused, choosing instead to conduct its own probe.