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Israeli President Isaac Herzog dismissed reporting from CNN suggesting that Israeli forces are to blame for the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
There was an international uproar earlier this month over the slaying of Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American and veteran reporter for Al Jazeera who was shot and killed during a conflict between Israel’s IDF and Palestinians in the West Bank despite wearing a vest identifying herself as a member of the press.
The question as to who was responsible for Abu Akleh’s death has sparked a fierce debate from both sides.
However, CNN published a report this week alleging that not only were Israeli forces responsible for her death, Abu Akleh was killed “in a targeted attack.”
“An investigation by CNN offers new evidence — including two videos of the scene of the shooting — that there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death,” the report read Tuesday. “Videos obtained by CNN, corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert, suggest that Abu Akleh was shot dead in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.”
CNN’s report said it reviewed “11 videos” from different angles of the Israeli military convoy “before, during and after Abu Akleh was killed” but noted the eyewitnesses who filmed the incident “do not capture the moment she is hit with the bullet” since they too were in the line of fire.
“They were shooting directly at the journalists,” said Arab American University professor Jamal Huwail, who reportedly “helped drag Abu Akleh’s lifeless body from the road.”
Witnesses alleged to CNN that Palestinian militants were not at the site of the West Bank raid where Abu Akleh was killed.
The IDF told CNN it is conducting its investigation into Abu Akleh’s death and “calls on the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with a joint forensic examination with American representatives to conclusively determine the source of the tragic death.”
The Israeli military previously acknowledged it was not clear which side made the fatal shot and its initial probe findings suggest she could have been struck by Palestinian gunmen or by an Israeli sniper from 200 meters (about 656 feet) away.
During a sit-down at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, Herzog called the killing a “very sad event” and reiterated his call for a joint investigation with the Palestinians, who he said have “refused.”
“They took the body, they took the bullet and one cannot substantiate any one of the scenarios without those facts,” Herzog said. “And Israel was open and transparent and offered the United States to join this process of investigation as well because we pay high importance to the freedom of speech and the work of journalists and media channels and we respect them.”
“We’ve already in the past gone through cases where we were blamed and the truth transpired later that there was a lot of fake facts,” the Israeli president continued. “So that’s when I said. Don’t base yourself on any fake facts. Study the facts. Facts can be studied scientifically. Unfortunately, the Palestinians refused to cooperate.”
CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.