Shireen Abu Aqleh
Shireen Abu Aqlehצילום: רויטרס

Israeli military investigations said Friday that they have been unable thus far to determine whether an Arab-American journalist killed during a gunfight in Jenin Wednesday was struck by a bullet fired by Israeli soldiers or Palestinian Arab terrorists.

An IDF spokesperson on Friday announced the interim findings of an army probe into the death of Shireen Abu Aqleh, the 51-year-old Jerusalem-born journalist who was shot dead after terrorists opened fire on Israeli soldiers in Jenin Wednesday morning, sparking a firefight.

“It is the interim finding of the investigation that the source of the fire which killed the journalist cannot be determined,” the spokesperson said.

Investigators said there are two likely sources of the fatal gunfire: “massive gunfire by armed Palestinians trying to hit the army force”, or one of the rounds fired by “one of the soldiers from special slits in their jeep through a telescopic sight towards the terrorists who were shooting at the soldier’s vehicle.”

Abu Aqleh, who was standing behind one of the terrorists involved in the gun battle, may have been struck by a shot, aimed at the terrorist, which was fired by the soldier who was positioned in the jeep.

The jeep was some 200 yards from the terrorist in question, the report noted.

On Thursday, the Palestinian Authority refused to hand over the bullet which fatally wounded Abu Aqleh, a decision which the army report cited as hampering its investigation.

“Receiving the bullet for a ballistics examination could be decisive in determining between the two options. As of now, the Palestinians have refused our request to conduct a joint investigation or to transfer the results of their investigation, or the bullet itself.”

The death of Abu Aqleh, an American citizen who worked for Al Jazeera, drew calls from the US State Department for an immediate and comprehensive investigation.

State Department spokesman Ned Price demanded an “immediate and thorough” investigation into her death.

“We are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing. Those responsible must be held accountable,” Price tweeted.