On Thursday, a senior Palestinian official declared that the Palestinian Authority would not transmit the bullet that killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to Israel for a ballistic examination, despite Jerusalem's request for a joint probe.
Hussein a-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority's (PA) liaison to Israel, stated that the PA's inquiry into the incident would be performed independently. Its findings would be shared with all relevant parties, including the United States.
A-Sheikh added that Abu Akleh was unquestionably killed by IDF fire, despite the official autopsy report claiming it is impossible to identify whether Israeli forces or Palestinian militants killed the journalist.
The PA official's statement followed Israel's call for a joint probe into the circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh's murder, which came hours after the journalist was killed in a battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Israel has also indicated its openness to engaging an impartial international body in any joint examination.
In the meantime, IDF Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi revealed that he has created a team to investigate how "Palestinians fired randomly at our forces from all directions."
Kochavi added that "unlike the Palestinians, IDF soldiers fire professionally and selectively."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated, "At this time, we do not know how Abu Akleh was slain, but we intend to conduct a thorough inquiry to uncover the facts. We are currently conducting an inquiry, and I do not wish to rule out any possibilities at this time."
"I can say that Israel places a high value on protecting human life and press freedom," Gantz said, adding that the military operation in Jenin, where the journalist was killed, occurred amid a spate of terror attacks against Israelis, at least some of which were carried out by terrorists from the Jenin region.