JENIN, West Bank — The journalists thought they have been protected.
Several blocks away, a gunfight between Israeli troopers and Palestinian males had simply stopped. Hoping to interview witnesses, the group of reporters headed down the road towards an Israeli navy convoy. Among them was Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American tv correspondent.
Suddenly, six bullets flew towards them, and so they ran for canopy. Ms. Abu Akleh crouched subsequent to a carob tree.
Seven extra pictures rang out.
“Is anyone injured?” a bystander, Sleem Awad, yelled, earlier than seeing Ms. Abu Akleh slumped facedown on the bottom. “Shireen! Shireen!” he shouted, having acknowledged the well-known journalist. “Oh man, Shireen!”
Palestinian officers mentioned Ms. Abu Akleh was deliberately killed early on May 11 within the West Bank metropolis of Jenin by an Israeli soldier. Israeli officers mentioned a soldier might need shot her by mistake but additionally advised that she might need been killed by a Palestinian gunman. The Israeli Army’s preliminary investigation concluded that it was “not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire.”
A monthlong investigation by The New York Times discovered that the bullet that killed Ms. Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli navy convoy, almost certainly by a soldier from an elite unit.
The proof reviewed by The Times confirmed that there have been no armed Palestinians close to her when she was shot. It contradicted Israeli claims that, if a soldier had mistakenly killed her, it was as a result of he had been capturing at a Palestinian gunman.
The Times investigation additionally confirmed that 16 pictures have been fired from the situation of the Israeli convoy, as opposed to Israeli claims that the soldier had fired 5 bullets within the journalists’ path. The Times discovered no proof that the one that fired acknowledged Ms. Abu Akleh and focused her personally. The Times was unable to decide whether or not the shooter noticed that she and her colleagues have been carrying protecting vests emblazoned with the phrase Press.
5 a.m., May 11
A Palestinian-American correspondent for Al Jazeera, Ms. Abu Akleh, 51, was a family title within the Middle East. She had reported on the Israel-Palestinian battle and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank for greater than twenty years. Now, she was the newest casualty.
Her killing drew world outrage, and for Palestinians it got here to embody the risks and frustrations of residing underneath Israeli navy occupation. Palestinian deaths hardly ever appeal to worldwide scrutiny, and troopers accused of crimes in opposition to Palestinians within the West Bank are hardly ever convicted.
Ms. Abu Akleh had come to Jenin that day to cowl Israel’s ongoing navy raids on town.
In the weeks main up to that day, a wave of Palestinian assaults had killed 19 Israelis and foreigners, and a few of the attackers had come from the Jenin area. In response, the Israeli navy launched a sequence of raids into Jenin, generally to make arrests, and the troopers have been typically met with Palestinian gunfire.
As the solar was rising on May 11, one other raid was kicking off.
At about 5 a.m., a Jenin resident, Fatima al-Hosari, noticed studies on social media that a navy raid was underway and feared the military was coming for 2 of her sons. A 3rd son had been killed in a gunfight throughout an Israeli raid on Jenin in March. Now two others have been needed by the military, accused of militant exercise.
As Israeli troopers closed in on their house — in a dense neighborhood populated primarily by the descendants of Palestinians who fled or have been expelled from their properties throughout the 1948 conflict surrounding Israel’s creation — Ms. al-Hosari woke her sons and instructed them to run.
Moments later, Israeli troopers arrived at their door, blowing it open with explosives and storming the house, in accordance to relations. The troopers demanded to know the brothers’ whereabouts, however their mother and father refused to inform them.
The troopers turned to an adjoining constructing the place they suspected the brothers is perhaps hiding. They compelled their manner inside and up to the second flooring, relations mentioned. And from a window on the second flooring, they exchanged hearth with Palestinian gunmen to their south.
Three miles to the north, a convoy of 5 Israeli navy automobiles was coming into the West Bank, led by an Israeli MDT David armored car.
At about 5:45 a.m., Ms. Abu Akleh was woke up at her resort on the outskirts of Jenin by a name from Ali Samoudi, 54, a longtime Al Jazeera producer, who urged her to get to the scene of the raid as quickly as doable.
She met three Al Jazeera colleagues within the resort car parking zone. They donned bulletproof vests marked “PRESS” in giant letters after which drove to the sting of the al-Hosaris’ neighborhood.
Mr. Samoudi was already there together with two freelance journalists, Mujahed Saadi, 35, and Shatha Hanaysha, 29.
As the journalists gathered, the Israeli convoy, despatched to extract the troopers concerned within the raid, arrived on a close by highway, New Camp Street.
The navy raid appeared to be winding down and the journalists needed to stroll down New Camp Street, previous the convoy, towards the al-Hosaris’ home, the surviving journalists mentioned.
But they waited a jiffy on the high of New Camp Street, intending to gauge the response of the troopers earlier than approaching the convoy. Had the troopers needed them to maintain their distance, the journalists mentioned, they might have anticipated some form of warning, maybe a few pictures fired into the air.
Mr. Awad, 27, had been following the raid on social media and ventured exterior to see for himself. At 6:24 a.m. he started livestreaming video on TikTok.
The environment was comparatively calm, Mr. Awad’s video exhibits.
Ms. Abu Akleh and her colleagues began down New Camp Street towards the al-Hosari house, the place the gunfire had subsided.
It was 6:31 a.m., two minutes for the reason that final gunshot.
The capturing started once more a few seconds later — a burst of six pictures heard in Mr. Awad’s video.
“They’re shooting at us,” Mr. Samoudi shouted. He circled, he mentioned, and felt his again explode as a bullet pierced his protecting vest and tore by means of his left shoulder.
“‘Ali’s been hit, Ali’s been hit!’” Ms. Abu Akleh shouted, Mr. Samoudi recalled. It was the final time he would hear her voice.
Mr. Saadi, one of the freelance journalists, jumped into an unfinished constructing. The different, Ms. Hanaysha, took cowl subsequent to a wall, behind a carob tree.
Ms. Abu Akleh crouched on the opposite aspect of the tree, her again to the Israeli convoy, video taken by the crew’s cameraman, Majdi Bannoura, confirmed.
Then seven extra pictures rang out.
The Palestinian Authority, which administers elements of the West Bank, mentioned its post-mortem confirmed that one of these bullets entered Ms. Abu Akleh’s cranium from behind, exited her brow and hit the within of her helmet earlier than ricocheting again into her head.
Crouched close to her, Ms. Hanaysha frantically stretched out her hand towards Ms. Abu Akleh’s limp physique, video exhibits. But the bullets have been nonetheless coming, forcing Ms. Hanaysha to stay behind the tree.
“Whoever shot at us should have seen us beforehand,” Ms. Hanaysha mentioned. “We thought we were safe.”
On May 26, the Palestinian Authority mentioned that its investigation, which included the post-mortem and a forensic examination of the bullet, discovered that Israeli troopers had killed Ms. Abu Akleh with an armor-piercing bullet. Palestinian officers accused the Israelis of killing her deliberately, citing the truth that she had been shot within the head from behind whereas carrying a vest that recognized her as a journalist.
The bullet turned the main focus of the Palestinian investigation and a separate one performed by the Israelis as a result of the etchings might match it to the gun that fired it.
Israel known as for a joint inquiry and for the bullet to be examined underneath worldwide supervision, the one manner, Israeli officers and specialists mentioned, to match a bullet conclusively to a specific weapon.
But Palestinian leaders rejected this request, saying that Israel couldn’t be trusted to examine the killing.
Israeli officers haven’t launched the ultimate outcomes of their inquiry and on Friday mentioned they’d added a extra senior investigator to their crew. In a earlier assertion, the navy rejected as “a blatant lie” the assertion that it had deliberately killed the journalist.
“I.D.F. soldiers did not recognize journalists in the area throughout the activity and certainly did not deliberately fire at journalists,” the assertion mentioned. “The I.D.F. rejects allegations based on incomplete investigations and biased testimonies, and will continue to conduct a responsible investigation into the incident.”
They mentioned that a preliminary investigation discovered that an unidentified soldier from the elite Duvdevan unit fired 5 bullets in Ms. Abu Akleh’s path from a slender opening in a car within the Israeli convoy, believing he was firing at a gunman close to the journalists.
The Times’ investigation reconstructed the moments main up to Ms. Abu Akleh’s killing, utilizing video collected from bystanders, journalists and safety cameras, interviews with seven witnesses in addition to the Israeli navy’s accounts, audio evaluation from specialists and 4 web site visits by Times reporters.
There have been at the least two pockets of Israeli troopers in addition to armed Palestinian militants in a number of spots within the neighborhood across the time Ms. Abu Akleh was shot, and there have been a number of exchanges of hearth amongst them.
But whereas no video has emerged that exhibits the deadly second, video taken within the seconds earlier than and after her killing exhibits no armed Palestinians in her neighborhood.
Seven journalists and bystanders who have been on the scene additionally mentioned no gunmen have been close by, and Israeli officers have supplied no proof of one.
The Times requested two specialists — Robert C. Maher, a gunfire acoustics skilled at Montana State University in Bozeman, and Steven Beck, a former acoustics guide for the F.B.I. — to analyze the sound of the gunfire from the movies taken by Mr. Awad and Mr. Bannoura, the cameraman.
Measuring the microseconds between the sound of every bullet leaving the gun barrel and the time it handed the cameras’ microphones, they have been ready to calculate the space between the gun and the microphones. They additionally thought of the air temperature that morning and the kind of the bullet mostly utilized by each the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Mr. Maher concluded that the pictures have been fired from at the least 181 yards from the place the movies have been shot, and up to 211 yards away. Mr. Beck independently decided that they have been fired from a distance of 170 to 196 yards away.
Surveillance digital camera video and movies taken by bystanders earlier than the capturing present that the primary car within the Israeli convoy stood simply a few yards exterior the vary calculated by the specialists — roughly 200 yards from the place Ms. Abu Akleh was shot.
There have been additionally armed Palestinians within the space, however none of the proof The Times reviewed linked any of them with the capturing.
One video, for instance, exhibits armed males inside the estimated vary of the capturing, however they lacked a direct sight line, their view of the journalists blocked by a number of partitions.
A second video exhibits Palestinian gunmen with a clear sight line to Ms. Abu Akleh. But they have been about 330 yards away — properly exterior the vary estimated by the specialists.
A 3rd video, shot by a Palestinian and distributed by the Israeli authorities, exhibits two gunmen in an alley that leads to a road nook that might have supplied them with a view of Ms. Abu Akleh. But that nook was roughly 300 yards from the journalist, additionally out of the specialists’ estimated vary.
Critically, the aural evaluation of the gunfire advised that every one 16 bullets have been fired from the approximate location of the Israeli car.
The specialists’ calculations assume the projectile was a 5.66 by 45 millimeter bullet, the sort typically utilized by each side. The primary purpose for the vary of distances, they mentioned, is to account for doable variation within the common velocity of the bullet.
The last three bullets happened a minute after the primary two rounds have been fired.
Sharif al-Azab, a Jenin resident, mentioned he was in a pal’s automotive close to the scene of the capturing when he heard gunfire and shouting. Hoping to assist, Mr. al-Azab tried to cross the highway to get to Ms. Abu Akleh however stepped again, he mentioned, after he noticed three Israeli troopers down the road with weapons raised.
Mr. al-Azab, 20, sprinted throughout the highway and behind the wall the place Ms. Abu Akleh had been making an attempt to defend herself. He climbed over the wall and crouched down subsequent to Ms. Abu Akleh, about a minute after she was killed within the second burst of gunfire, to attempt to decide her up. But a shot flashed previous, forcing him up in opposition to the wall.
He ushered Ms. Hanaysha out of the road of hearth earlier than turning again to Ms. Abu Akleh to attempt once more. He hooked his arms beneath her arms, half lifting, half dragging her physique to his pal’s automotive.
As he did so, two extra bullets flashed previous.
In the time for the reason that group of journalists had began to stroll down the highway minutes earlier, at the least 16 bullets had been fired of their path. One hit Mr. Samoudi in his shoulder, one hit Ms. Abu Akleh and three hit the carob tree at about six ft above the bottom.
The tree has now turn out to be a memorial web site. Palestinian flags dangle from the branches and its bark continues to be pockmarked by bullet holes, every rimmed by yellow police tape.
A mural on the wall subsequent to it depicts Mr. al-Azab carrying Ms. Abu Akleh’s physique.
Families have been visiting the location to pay their respects.
Some movie their younger daughters standing within the shade of the tree, mimicking the broadcaster’s well-known sign-off: “Shireen Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera, from Jenin.”
Raja Abdulrahim, Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbek reported from Jenin, and Christiaan Triebert from New York. John Ismay contributed reporting from Washington, and Haley Willis and Christoph Koettl from New York.