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Shireen Abu Akleh: US lawmakers demanding FBI examine killing

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Washington, DC – Dozens of US legislators have signed onto a letter demanding the FBI examine the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Congressman Andre Carson stated, hours after Israel’s army stated it won’t launch a legal inquiry into the incident.

Abu Akleh, who held US citizenship, was fatally shot by Israeli forces within the occupied West Bank final week, sparking world outrage and widespread requires an impartial or United States-led investigation.

“As we all continue to mourn the loss of this great journalist, fellow American, who was tragically killed while on assignment, we want answers,” Carson, who helps lead the congressional letter, informed Al Jazeera in an interview on Thursday.

“And we need to ensure that these answers are accurate, that they are transparent and that they are timely.”

The letter, first revealed by The Intercept earlier this week, requires the US authorities to be immediately concerned in any probe into the deadly capturing of the Al Jazeera journalist.

“Given the tenuous scenario within the area and the conflicting studies surrounding the loss of life of Ms. Abu Akleh, we request the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Akleh’s loss of life.

“We also request the US Department of State determines whether any US laws protecting Ms. Abu Akleh, an American citizen, were violated,” it reads. “As an American, Ms. Abu Akleh was entitled to the full protections afforded to US citizens living abroad.”

The assertion is addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Carson informed Al Jazeera that the letter, which continues to be circulating on Capitol Hill to get help, has greater than 55 co-signers already, describing the tally as “huge”.

“The State Department called her killing an affront to media freedom. I couldn’t agree more,” Carson stated. “As the world’s leading democracy, we have a responsibility to protect the free press, not just in our own country but around the world.”

Family desires solutions

President Joe Biden’s administration has condemned the killing and referred to as for an investigation however stated it will belief Israel to conduct the probe.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price stated final week that Israel has the “wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation”, including that “those responsible for Shireen’s killing should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.

The State Department didn’t reply to Al Jazeera’s request for touch upon Thursday on the Israeli army’s assertion.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met together with his Israel counterpart Benny Gantz earlier within the day, and a Pentagon readout describing their talks didn’t make any point out of Abu Akleh.

Asked by Al Jazeera throughout a briefing whether or not the topic was introduced up in the course of the assembly, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby stated that Austin welcomed Israel’s “intent statement” to research.

“The government of Israel – it’s not for the Israeli military – I believe it’s in their Ministry of Interior, and they have stated a clear intent to investigate and the secretary [Austin] welcomed that investigation,” Kirby stated. “And obviously, we look forward to seeing what the investigation finds out.”

Abu Akleh’s household has urged the US authorities and worldwide group to step in and guarantee an impartial probe after the Israeli army stated it will not examine.

“We were expecting this from the Israeli side. That’s why we didn’t want them to participate in the investigation. We want to hold whoever is responsible for these acts accountable,” the household stated in a press release to Al Jazeera.

“We urge the United States in particular – since she is a US citizen – and the international community to open a just and transparent investigation and to put an end to the killings.”

US help to Israel

On May 13, Israeli police attacked Abu Akleh’s funeral procession in Jerusalem and beat pallbearers carrying her coffin with batons in scenes that spurred additional anger and requires accountability.

Palestinian rights advocates have been urging Washington to situation or prohibit US help to Israel over the killing of Abu Akleh and different Israeli rights abuses – an concept categorically rejected by the Biden administration.

The Al Jazeera journalist is the second American citizen to be killed by Israeli forces this 12 months. In January, 78-year-old Omar Assad suffered a stress-induced coronary heart assault after he was arbitrarily detained, certain, blindfolded and gagged by Israeli forces.

Israel receives $3.8bn in US army help yearly, and this 12 months Washington added one other $1bn in help to “replenish” Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system after the May 2021 Gaza battle.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israel’s B’Tselem, amongst different rights teams, have accused Israel of committing apartheid in opposition to Palestinians – findings which were rejected by the Israeli and US governments.

“There are many people who are calling [for] deeper scrutiny as it relates to support for Israel,” Carson stated on Thursday. “Israel has been a strategic partner of the United States. I think that when we send money, we have to make sure that folks are being held accountable.”

He pressured that the US has a task in guaranteeing accountability for the killing of Abu Akleh.

“She deserves justice. Every American killed abroad is entitled to our protection. Every human killed – American or not – deserves justice, Palestinians included.”


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