By Atika Shubert, Abeer Salman, and Lauren Izso
A Palestinian Authority investigation into the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has found that she was fatally shot by Israeli forces using an armor-piercing bullet, Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al-Khatib said Thursday.
The announcement was immediately rejected by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Al-Khatib said the Al Jazeera journalist was running away from the direction of the gunfire when the 5.56 mm bullet struck her in the head, causing a laceration of the brain tissue and killing her.
The bullet contained an iron fragment used in special armor-penetrating ammunition, Al-Khatib said.
The autopsy was performed at the Forensic Medicine Institute of Al Najah University, in Nablus.
Both the Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera have accused the Israeli military of intentionally killing Abu Akleh while she was covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin on May 11.
A CNN investigation published Tuesday also suggested that Abu Akleh was targeted by Israel Defense Forces, based on eyewitness testimony, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert.
But the IDF says it is not clear who killed Abu Akleh, arguing that she was shot either by Palestinian militants firing indiscriminately or by IDF troops returning fire. The IDF says it is investigating but needs the bullet that killed her to determine who fired the fatal shot.
Gantz on Thursday called on Palestinian Authority investigators “to hand over the bullet and all their findings.” He reiterated Israel’s willingness to collaborate on an international investigation — a prospect the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly ruled out, saying they do not trust Israel.
Gantz also appeared to refer to CNN’s investigation, accusing it of promoting “false assessments.”
“Any claim that the IDF intentionally harms journalists or uninvolved civilians, is a blatant lie,” he said.
Al-Khatib said Thursday that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh would not be handed over to the Israeli military for investigation.
“Israel asked for the bullet even before we began the investigation. This proves they were trying to fool us and the whole world,” Al-Khatib told reporters. “We will never give them the bullet.”
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