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Israel to test bullet that killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, army says

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Israel will conduct a ballistics test on the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israeli military said Sunday, a day after the Palestinian Authority handed the bullet to US experts.

Israeli army spokesman Ran Kochav’s comment on army radio came after the Palestinian Authority gave the US, but not Israel, the go-ahead to investigate the bullet that killed Abu Akleh while the veteran reporter covered an Israeli army operation on the northern West Bank on May 11

A Palestinian official, who asked for anonymity, told AFP that the Israeli comment raised questions about whether the Palestinian Authority “could trust the Americans”.

Kochav told army radio: “The test will not be American, the test will be an Israeli test with an American presence.”

“We are waiting for the results, if we kill her, we will take responsibility for it and we will regret it. We also regret that people who are not involved are killed by Palestinian gunmen,” Kochav also said.

The Israeli military was not immediately available to provide further explanations about Kochav’s comments, including whether an Israeli ballistic test was already underway.

Palestinian sources in Ramallah have said they expected the test to be conducted at the US embassy in Jerusalem, AFP reported.

Abu Akleh, who was a Palestinian and American citizen, was wearing a vest that read “Press” and a helmet when she was killed.

The official Palestinian investigation found that the star reporter for the Qatar-based television channel was killed after being hit by a bullet just below her helmet.

It found that Abu Akleh was killed with a 5.56 millimeter armor-piercing bullet fired from a Ruger Mini-14 rifle.

Investigations by the United Nations, as well as several journalistic investigations, have revealed that the shot that killed Abu Akleh was fired by Israeli forces.

Despite those findings, Israel insists it may have been hit by stray Palestinian gunfire.

The Israeli military has also said “Ms. Abu Akleh was not intentionally shot by an IDF soldier”.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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