WASHINGTON (JTA) — The FBI has opened up an investigation into the killing Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian American journalist killed in May in an exchange of fire between Palestinian and Israeli troops, Israel-based reports said.
Such an investigation is significant because the Biden administration’s State Department has already signed off on Israel’s finding that an Israeli soldier likely shot the fatal bullet, and that there was no evidence that the killing was intentional. The FBI may be ready to investigate whether the shooting was intentional, as Palestinian officials and Abu Akleh’s family have alleged.
The FBI routinely investigates alleged crimes against American citizens overseas and even has a dedicated department for such investigations. But it is rare if not unprecedented for the agency to investigate whether a soldier in an allied army is liable for a killing.
The reports Monday in multiple outlets, including Haaretz and by Axios’ Israel-based correspondent, Barak Ravid, mostly cited Israeli sources. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has asked the White House, the State Department and the FBI for confirmation.
“This is an overdue but necessary and important step in the pursuit of justice and accountability in the shooting death of American citizen and journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, wrote on Twitter, where he shared a news report about the FBI investigation.
This article originally appeared on JTA.org.
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