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Dozens of Senate lawmakers demand that US probe Abu Akleh’s murder

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The US Capitol’s building in Washington, DC (File photo)

A group of 24 Democratic lawmakers with the US states’ Senate demand that Washington investigate the last month’s shooting death of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

The request came in a letter led by Senators Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and cosigned by 22 other Democrats, The Hill reported.

In their letter, which was forwarded to US President Joe Biden on Thursday, the lawmakers urged that the US State Department and FBI launch an “independent investigation under US auspices to determine the truth” behind the murder.

“It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation,” the senators wrote. “Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death.”

The incident, during which the renowned Al Jazeera journalist was killed by shots to her head, took place in the city of Jenin in the northern part of the occupied West Bank on May 11. It sent shockwaves throughout the international community and initiated numerous calls for accountability on the part of the Israeli regime.

Earlier this month, an investigation by The Washington Post negated the Israeli military’s efforts to deflect blame for Abu Akleh’s murder, while hinting at Tel Aviv’s bid to withhold vital evidence in the case.

The Post published the results of the probe on June 12, citing “multiple eyewitnesses,” reviews of numerous videos, and independent acoustic analyses of the gunshots. The daily also examined social media posts and photos of the event, and conducted two physical inspections of the scene.

The Post’s probe found that at the time of the incident, the sniper was situated about 182 meters (600 feet) away from Abu Akleh—just where an Israeli convoy had been deployed that morning.

The paper refuted the Israeli military’s version that claims the shots were directed towards a Palestinian gunman, who was allegedly standing between the Israeli forces and the journalist. It says the military has not released any evidence pointing to the presence of a gunman.

The Israeli military is also sitting on tons of evidence, including footage from drones and body cameras, the paper noted.

The daily also debunks the Israeli military’s claim that Abu Akleh was killed during “an exchange of fire,” citing eyewitnesses, who have said there was no firefight at the time.

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