Israel says will test bullet that killed reporter

STORY: Israel said on Sunday (July 3) it would forensically test a bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Palestinians accuse the Israeli military of deliberately shooting dead the well-known Al Jazeera reporter during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin in May.

Israel denies this, saying that Abu Akleh was either hit by stray army fire or shot by Palestinian gunmen during a clash with Israeli forces.

Both sides hope that a ballistic test on the fatal bullet will yield answers to the question of who killed Abu Akleh, but deep mistrust between them has hampered the investigation.

The Palestinians on Saturday handed the bullet to a U.S. security coordinator, and said they'd received assurances Israel would not take part in the test.

But in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday, an Israeli military spokesperson said "the test will not be American. The test will be an Israeli test, with an American presence."

He added: "if we killed her, we will take responsibility and feel regret for what happened. We also feel regret when civilians are killed by Palestinian gunmen."

Nachman Shai, Israel's minister for diaspora affairs, told reporters on Sunday, "we should not fear an investigation. From the first moment we wanted an investigation, we invited the Americans and told them to be a part of it. I think that is the right direction."

He added, "we don't shoot journalists."

Akram al-Khatib, general prosecutor for the Palestinian Authority, said the test would take place at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

A U.S. embassy spokesperson said: "We don't have anything new at this time."

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on a visit to the region later this month.