The US embassy in Jerusalem completed its examination of the bullet that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and returned it to Palestinian Authorities, according to a report on Sunday evening.
Al Jazeera reported that Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed al-Shalaldeh said the bullet was returned on Sunday and authorities were now awaiting the results of the analysis, which were expected sometime on Monday.
The ballistic analysis was a key indicator of who could have been responsible for the killing of the veteran Palestinian-American correspondent, 51, who was killed under disputed circumstances in Jenin as she covered an Israeli army raid in mid-May alongside a team of other journalists.
Since Abu Akleh holds American citizenship, Washington has “a right to request this bullet for the purposes of conducting a comprehensive and impartial investigation into the killing…and we in the Palestinian Authority welcome that,” said Shalaldeh.
Over several weeks, the Palestinian Authority insisted that it would not hand over the bullet or conduct a joint investigation with Israel. This changed on Saturday night when Ramallah transferred the bullet to the US embassy for an American examination.
Israeli army spokesperson Ran Kochav said Sunday the examination would occur ‘in the presence of the Americans.’“The professional Israeli examination will take place in the presence of the Americans. If there is a match between the shell and the weapons of Israeli soldiers, we will inform the public,” he said.
Kochav also stressed the fact that “This is an Israeli examination, an Israeli investigation, with an American presence. The Palestinians who so kindly transferred the bullet did so in order for there to be an Israeli investigation with an American presence.”