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Defying intl. outcry, Israel says will not cooperate with any external probe into murder of Palestinian journo

This file photo shows veteran Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed earlier this year by Israeli forces' live fire while reporting a raid on the occupied West Banks city of Jenin.

Israel has once again defied all international calls for justice in the killing of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, saying it will not cooperate with any external investigation into her murder.

The regime's Minister for Military Affairs Benny Gantz made the remarks on Monday after the emergence of reports that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into the reporter's killing.

"The US Justice Ministry's decision to investigate the unfortunate death of Shireen Abu Akleh is a serious mistake," Gantz said in a statement.

Wearing press attire, 51-year-old Abu Akleh was murdered in cold blood while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. Later, her funeral was also attacked by the regime's forces.

Following long denial, the Israeli military finally admitted in September that Abu Akleh might have "accidentally" been killed by Israeli fire directed "towards suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen."

Palestinian officials and Abu Akleh's family have said they believe she was killed deliberately by Israeli forces and have rejected Israeli statements that there were Palestinian fighters around where she was standing.

Numerous witnesses and inquires into the incident have also disputed the Israel's claim, saying there were no Palestinian fighters around when the murder took place.

The West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority (PA)'s President Mahmoud Abbas has slammed the Israeli version as an attempt by Tel Aviv to evade responsibility for her murder.

Speaking through a video posted on Twitter on November 11, Abu Akleh's niece Lareen Abu Akleh said, "It has been six long months of my family and I advocating for accountability and justice."

"We continue to pursue all possible avenues for accountability and we have hope that some day we would see justice for Shireen," she added.

The PA has likewise affirmed that the Palestinian leadership would continue to follow up on the brutal killing with all relevant international bodies, especially the International Criminal Court, to protect the rights of the veteran journalist as well as other Palestinians.

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