US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to expedite the investigation into the murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh so that the results can be made public.
Israel’s diplomatic correspondent Walla NewsBarak Ravid quoted two informed sources on Monday as saying the US government is under pressure from Democratic members of the House of Representatives and Senate to take further steps to expose the circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh’s assassination. According to the sources, Blinken spoke to Gantz by phone on Saturday and asked when the Israeli military is expected to complete the “operational investigation” into the Abu Akleh assassination and publish the final results.
“Blinken has urged Gantz to expedite investigation procedures and stressed the need to complete the investigation as soon as possible and communicate its conclusions to both the US government and the Abu Akleh family,” the sources added.
Gantz has apparently assured Blinken that the final results of the study will be published “within a few weeks.” He noted that the military had only released the results of the “preliminary investigation”, which showed that “it was not possible” to determine who shot Abu Akleh.
The sources indicated that Blinken met Abu Akleh’s family two days before his phone call with Gantz. Relatives want more information about her murder.
READ: US ‘investigation’ into Abu Akleh assassination tells us Israeli impunity is a priority
According to Walla NewsUS Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev during his visit to Washington last weekend. She asked him about “the reason behind the delay in completing the investigation and publishing the results.”
Israel had initially claimed that its soldiers had not shot Abu Akleh, who was covering an army raid on the city of Jenin when she was shot in the head while wearing full protective clothing, which clearly indicated she was a journalist. In addition, the military actually claimed that Palestinian gunmen had shot her.
However, independent investigation by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem and CNN among others came to the same conclusion: the bullet that killed Abu Akleh came from the same location where the Israeli army snipers had been deployed.