Rules of Engagement

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Israel rejected calls to review the army’s rules of engagement in the West Bank as part of taking accountability for the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the territory, Axios reported.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over the death of Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera reporter who was shot dead in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

The armed forces initially suggested that it was not able to establish the source of the gunshot that killed Abu Akleh, saying that it could have been fired by Palestinian militants, Agence France-Presse noted.

But on Monday, Israel published an investigation into the journalist’s killing, which determined that Abu Akleh was most likely killed by “unintentional fire” from an Israeli soldier who did not realize she was a journalist.

IDF officials maintained that there was no violation of the rules of engagement and no issues in the briefing the soldiers received before the Jenin raid.

Still, the United States called on Israel to review its guidelines, prompting swift criticism from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Lapid expressed “sorrow” about Abu Akleh’s killing but stressed that “no one will dictate our rules of engagement to us, when we are the ones fighting for our lives.” He also rejected calls to prosecute the soldier that potentially shot dead the journalist.

Al Jazeera criticized the results of the investigation and called for a probe by an “independent international body.”

Previously, a United Nations probe found that there was “no evidence of activity by armed Palestinians close by” when Abu Akleh was shot as Israel had initially claimed.

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