WASHINGTON – A group of 24 U.S. senators on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to ensure direct U.S. involvement in the investigation of the killing of an Al Jazeera journalist who was covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank last month.
The group, of Democrats plus two independents who caucus with them, called for “a thorough and transparent investigation under U.S. auspices” into the shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American reporter, in the city of Jenin on May 11.
“It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen, in a letter to Biden, who is due to visit Israel in July.
“Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved,” the letter stated.
The White House and the Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Palestinian Authority said in late May its investigation showed that Abu Akleh was shot by an Israeli soldier in a “deliberate murder.”
Israel denied the accusation and said it was continuing its own investigations. The Israeli army had said previously that Abu Akleh might have been accidentally shot by one of its soldiers or a Palestinian militant in an exchange of fire.
She had been wearing a helmet and a press vest that clearly marked her as a journalist.