The United States has informed the Israeli authorities that it was launching its own investigation into the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, according to media reports.
Citing Israeli sources, the U.S.-based Axios news website said the U.S. Justice Department informed the Israeli Justice Ministry that the FBI has opened an investigation into the death of Abu Akleh.
Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed on May 11, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said she was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Several leading media agencies, including Al Jazeera, CNN, the Associated Press, Washington Post, and the New York Times, conducted their own investigations, which all came to an end that Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli bullet.
In his response, outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the U.S. decision to conduct an investigation into the death of Abu Akleh “is a mistake.”
“The IDF (Israeli army) has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the details were shared,” Gantz said on Twitter.
“I have delivered a message to US representatives that we stand by the IDF’s soldiers, that we will not cooperate with an external investigation, and will not enable intervention to internal investigations,” he added.
In September, the Israeli army said Abu Akleh was likely killed by “wrong” gunfire from an Israeli soldier.
Meanwhile, Abu Akleh’s Palestinian American family welcomed the decision as “an important step,” voicing hope for a “truly independent, credible and thorough probe.”
The Abu Akleh family statement noted that it had been asking for a US probe “since the begining”.
“It is what the United States should do when a US citizen is killed abroad, especially when they were killed, like Shireen, by a foreign military.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to confirm or deny the investigation. But Politico reported that the FBI was probing the May 11 shooting.