Israel says it will test bullet that killed reporter, Palestine disagrees

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Al Jazeera reporter Shirin Abu Akleh was killed during an Israeli raid on the West Bank.

Jerusalem / Ramallah:

Israel said on Sunday it would test the bullet that killed a Palestinian-American journalist to determine whether one of its soldiers shot him and said a US observer would be present for that process. Which can give results within hours.

The Palestinians, who handed over the bullet to the US security coordinator on Saturday, said they had been assured that Israel would not engage in ballistics.

Washington has yet to comment. July 4 is a holiday weekend in the United States.

The May 11 death of Al Jazeera reporter Shirin Abu Akleh, during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, and squabbles between the parties over the circumstances have affected US President Joe Biden’s visit this month.

The Palestinians accused the Israeli military of deliberately killing him. Israel denies that Abu Akleh may have been killed by military fault or by one of the Palestinian gunmen who were fighting alongside its forces.

“The (ballistic) test will not be American. The test will be an Israeli test, with an American presence,” said Israeli military spokesman Brigadier-General Ran Kochov.

“It will be clear in the coming days or hours whether we were the ones who accidentally killed him or whether it was Palestinian gunmen,” he told Army Radio. “If we killed him, we would take responsibility and feel sorry for what happened.”

Palestinian Authority general prosecutor Akram al-Khatib said the trial would take place at the US embassy in Jerusalem.

“We have received a guarantee from the US coordinator that the test will be conducted by them and that the Israeli side will not participate,” al-Khatib told Voice of Palestine radio. He said he hoped the bullet would come back on Sunday.

“We have nothing new at this time,” an embassy spokesman said.

Biden is expected to hold separate meetings with Palestinian and Israeli leaders on July 13-16. The Abu Akleh affair will be a diplomatic and domestic test for Israel’s new prime minister, Yair Lapid.

Israel’s Deputy Interior Security Minister Yoav Seglovitz said Lapid was involved in “managing the arrival and transfer of this bullet”.

“It will take a few days to conduct ballistic tests with several experts to make sure there is a clear assessment,” Seglovitz told Army Radio.

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