Following the results of the investigation surrounding the death of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israel’s Defense Minister, Benny Ganz, blamed the “terrorists who operate from within population centers.”
"Once again, I would like to express my condolences following the passing of journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. The defense establishment is committed to uncovering the truth,” he said in a written statement.
“In this specific case, despite the forensic investigation, it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion. Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting – and as such, the investigation will continue.
“It is important to emphasize that during this operational event, like in many others, hundreds of bullets were fired at IDF troops, which responded with firepower of their own, only in the direction of the sources of the shooting.
“The first to bear responsibility in such events, are the terrorists who operate from within population centers. Our troops and their commanders have the duty to defend the citizens of the State of Israel, and they have my full support to operate accordingly.
“At the same time, we maintain warfare morality in accordance with the values of the IDF, and take all the possible measures to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians, while enabling freedom of the press. This includes decisions regarding force build-up, operations, investigations and cooperation with partners such as this cooperation with our U.S. partners, in order to uncover the truth.
“The professional and moral truth are inseparable from our national resilience and it will always be this way."
Tragically, hundreds of journalists have been killed in recent years in combat zones around the world. The State of Israel recognizes the importance of freedom of the press and safeguarding journalists as they carry out their duties,” said Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, in a separate statement.
“I give full and unequivocal backing to the IDF soldiers who risk their lives to defend the citizens of Israel from terrorism and who work around the clock for the security of Israel," Lapid added.