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The United States will conduct an investigation into the death in May of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank, a move that was welcomed by the reporter’s family but criticized by the Israeli government, Fox News reported.

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed that the US Department of Justice had launched an investigation into the death of the Al Jazeera journalist while covering a military raid by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) targeting Palestinian militants in the town of Jenin.

A number of media investigations, including one by the United Nations, concluded that the shot that killed the journalist was fired by a soldier with the IDF – a conclusion that was also supported by Palestinian officials.

The IDF initially blamed Palestinians and dismissed the accusations. But in September, following an extensive investigation monitored by the US, the IDF admitted that an Israeli soldier likely shot the journalist by mistake.

Even so, the Israeli military closed the investigation and refused to indict those involved, saying that no laws had been broken, the Guardian noted.

The US was also prepared to drop the matter but Abu Akleh’s family – with support from members of Congress – pressured the Biden administration to launch an inquiry.

While there are no precise details about the investigation, observers said the probe into Israeli actions would be a rare, if not unprecedented, step.

Abu Akleh’s family welcomed the move as “an important step.” Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, meanwhile, defended the IDF as “a moral and ethical army.”

He told the Israeli parliament Tuesday that IDF soldiers will not “be investigated by the FBI or by any foreign country or body, however friendly.”

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