Two videos are being shared online by those trying to explain using clips how a journalist was fatally shot in the head on the outskirts of a Palestinian refugee camp.
One shows the moment a Palestinian reporter is shot while wearing a helmet and a protective jacket labelled ‘press’, as those around her shout warnings that a sniper is firing at them.
The other shows what Israeli authorities say is a Palestinian man in a balaclava “firing indiscriminately”.
Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot in Jenin on Wednesday morning while working for Al Jazeera’s Arabic language channel. Her employer released a statement saying the reporter was “assassinated in cold blood” by Israel.
Image: A map showing where Jenin is in Israel
This accusation was echoed by the Palestinian President and the health ministry.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disputed those accusations, saying the shot could have been fired by a Palestinian and that “there must be a real investigation” into the death. He accuses the Palestinians of “preventing that”.
A rescue under fire
Sky News has verified a video showing the shooting of Ms Abu Akleh and the events immediately after.
The video is 3.35 minutes long and runs continuously. This tells us the footage has not been edited to remove or add any segments.
The video shows that she was shot while next to another female journalist on the outskirts of a refugee camp in the town of Jenin.
Image: The shooting happened on the outskirts of a refugee camp in Jenin, Israel. Pic: Google Maps
Sky News has confirmed the location of the video by comparing it with street view images available on mapping website Mapillary.
Image: A screenshot from the video of the shooting with landmarks highlighted
Image: A street view of where the shooting took place with landmarks highlighted. Pic: Mapillary
The video begins with the sound of shots being fired but the camera is pointing away from where Ms Abu Akleh and reporter Shatha Hanaysha are.
The video does not show Ms Abu Akleh at the exact moment she is shot.
Seconds after the gunfire is heard, people begin to shout for an ambulance and say that Sherine has been hit.
Four seconds after the initial gunfire, more shots are fired. After a pause of six seconds, gunfire is heard for the third time in the video.
The camera then shows a woman lying face down on the floor wearing a blue flak jacket with the words ‘press’ in white capital letters and a helmet. Ms Hanaysha is next to her, also dressed in protective clothing and holding a camera.
Image: Ms Abu Akleh’s was wearing a helmet and a flak jacket with the word ‘press’ clearly visible
A fourth round of gunfire can be heard after a break of around 15 seconds.
Shortly after this, a man tries to cross the road towards the journalists.
“No, don’t come!”, Ms Hanaysha shouts. The group believe a sniper is firing at them.
A minute passes with no shots fired and a man closer to the women manages to reach them.
He begins to pick up Ms Abu Akleh but is interrupted by the sound of a single shot. The noise causes Ms Hanaysha to cover her ears.
Image: Shatha Hanaysha attempts to cover her ears when a gunshot can be heard in the video as the man attempts to lift Shireen Abu Akleh off the floor
More shots follow while the man in the white t-shirt moves Ms Abu Akleh.
As he lifts her to take her to a waiting car, a large amount of blood can be seen coming from her head.
It is not possible to see who is shooting at any point in the video.
Israel claims Palestinian terrorists may be to blame
Israel has suggested Ms Abu Akleh may have been shot by a Palestinian, not by its forces.
The prime minister and the country’s foreign ministry are among those who shared a video on Twitter that shows a man in a balaclava firing a gun down an alley.
English captions, checked by Sky News, are provided with the video.
One man’s words are translated on screen: “They’ve hit one, they’ve hit a soldier, he’s laying on the ground.”
Text then appears on screen saying: “No IDF soldier was injured in Jenin this morning.”
Mr Bennet’s account tweeted that the events in the video “increases the possibility that the Palestinian terrorists were the ones who shot the journalist.”
The foreign ministry’s tweet said: “Palestinian terrorists, firing indiscriminately, are likely to have hit Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla.”
The original source for the footage of the man firing down an alley appears to be a video shared by Palestinian militants.
Image: The footage of a masked man shooting down an alley appears to have originally been posted onto a Telegram channel by Palestinian militants. Pic: Saraya Al Quds
Do the locations match up?
Sky News is unable to independently verify where the footage was shot using open-source tools like Google Street view or Mapillary because the area is not covered.
A researcher for B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based non-profit which documents human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, uploaded a video walking through the locations of the footage that was shared by Israeli officials and of the shooting.
They filmed this after the attack in order to show the context of where the two locations are.
A comparison of the two videos shows the location appears to match.
Image: The left side shows the video filmed by the researcher, the right side is the shootage shared by the Israeli authorities
The researcher walks in the direction the gunman fired – straight down the alleyway.
This appears to show that the alleyway does not lead directly to where the journalists were.
The researcher has to walk further along and make two turns to emerge onto the road where the attack happened. The exact location where Ms Abu Akleh was shot is at the bottom of this long road, some distance from where the researcher emerged.
Image: The location where the man fires a gun in the video is shown here in comparison to where Ms Abu Akleh was shot. The yellow line shows the path the researcher walks in order to face the direction of the shooting. Pic: Google Maps
AFP journalist Gareth Browne, who is in Jenin, also confirmed the location where the man in the balaclava was filmed standing in the clip shared by the Israeli authorities.
For Ms Hanaysha, who was less than a metre from where Ms Abu Akleh lay on the floor after being shot, what happened is evident in her opinion.
Speaking to reporters after the attack, she said: “It’s clear that the one who killed her wanted to shoot her where she was not covered… I consider what happened an assassination.”
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Source : Sky News