Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Based on this Haaretz article, assuming that the numbers are accurate, it is highly likely but certainly not absolute that Palestinian bullet killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.

It is still unclear whether Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire or Palestinian gunmen while she was covering a military raid in Jenin on Wednesday, according to an initial investigation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces.     

The probe shows that Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was shot and killed.

Soldiers from the elite Duvdevan Unit fired a few dozen bullets during the raid in Jenin, the investigation shows, but whether it was Israeli or Palestinian gunfire that killed the Al Jazeera reporter is unknown. 

Wednesday evening saw feverish rounds of communication between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding whether the bullet removed from Abu Akleh’s body would be turned over for examination in Israel.

The bullet, which struck her in the head, is 5.56 millimeters in diameter and was shot from an M16 rifle. But since such rifles are used by both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian cells in the West Bank, the information is insufficient to determine which side fired the bullet.

IDF sources say that in the course of an arrest outside the Jenin refugee camp, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. These include a gunman who they spotted on the roof of a house,  an armed man peering from a window and others.

Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh and a Reuters photographer who was wounded were positioned to the north of the Israeli forces. Nevertheless, it appears that some Israeli fire was directed northwards as well.
Some educated conjecture:

No one targeted Shireen. Neither side would benefit from killing her. She was likely killed by a bullet that was aimed at another target.

The article says "hundreds" of bullets were shot at IDF troops, while the Duvdevan unit only fired "dozens" of bullets. Based on the audio of the fighting, this seems likely.

From the geolocation analysis people were doing on Twitter, most of the Palestinian fire was towards the west or northward. This article says only "some" Israeli fire was aimed northward, towards Akleh.

So, let's say 300 Palestinian bullets, only half of them northward - 150 bullets in that direction.
Let's say six dozen Israeli bullets, 30% aimed northward - that is 22 bullets in that direction.

So, back of the envelope calculation says 87% of the bullets aimed northward were Palestinian bullets.

The chances that an IDF soldier shot the bullet that killed her becomes far less likely when you consider that professional soldiers under central command and with an awareness of the laws of armed conflict and the repercussions of a mistaken gunshot do not fire randomly and shoot at very specific targets. Palestinians in Jenin with rifles are ar more likely to shoot in a general direction hoping to hit any soldier. 

The odds are overwhelming that Palestinian bullets hit the Al Jazeera reporters and the tree they were near.
Participants in a funeral in Jenin, April 22, 2022







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