A group of 24 US senators on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to ensure direct US involvement in the investigation into the murder of an Al Jazeera journalist who was covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank last month.
The lawmakers, all Democrats and two independents, called for “a thorough and transparent investigation under the auspices of the United States” into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, in Jenin on May 11.
Israeli and Palestinian officials traded recriminations over the incident, which heightened tensions.
“It is clear that neither party on the ground trusts the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation,” the lawmakers, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, wrote in a letter to Biden, who must meet. travel to Israel in July.
“We believe the only way to achieve this goal is for the United States to be directly involved,” they wrote.
A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the United States was not conducting a formal investigation, but urged both sides to share the evidence between themselves. “We expect full accountability from those responsible,” the spokesperson added. The Israeli Embassy said Israel had conducted a thorough investigation and “continues to call for an investigation with the United States in an observer role.”
The Palestinian Authority said in late May that its investigation showed that Abu Akleh had been shot by an Israeli soldier in a “deliberate killing”.
Israel denied the charge.
The Israeli army concluded “unless the bullet is returned, it is impossible to determine which side fired the fatal shot”, but the Palestinian Authority refused to do so, the Israeli embassy said .
He denied that an Israeli soldier “targeted a journalist”.
The Israeli army said shortly after the incident that Abu Akleh may have been accidentally shot by one of its soldiers or a Palestinian militant during an exchange of gunfire.
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