During his trip to Israel, US President Joe Biden should obtain the names of soldiers involved in the operation in which Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said in a statement on Friday.
"During his upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, President Biden must obtain the names of the soldiers responsible for killing Shireen, along with that of their commanding officer, so that these individuals can be fully prosecuted for their crimes by the Department of Justice," Tlaib wrote.
"When an American citizen is murdered abroad, it is typically standard procedure for the US to open a criminal investigation."Rashida Tlaib
Abu Akleh's death was likely a "targeted assassination," said Tlaib, citing a probe by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and open-source intelligence investigations by news outlets such as CNN and The Washington Post.
Tlaib said that the US State Department and FBI must open a criminal investigation of Abu Akleh since she was an American citizen.The IDF has said that it will not open have military police open a criminal investigation into the incident with the information currently available
"When an American citizen is murdered abroad, it is typically standard procedure for the US to open a criminal investigation," she wrote. "But in this case, the State Department and the Biden Administration have yet to launch an independent US investigation."
The call for an investigation came in response to the July 4 inconclusive results of joint US-Israeli examination of the bullet that struck Abu Akleh in Jenin on May 11 during a gunbattle between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen.
"The State Department under the Biden Administration declared that it was incapable of even attempting to achieve any measure of justice for an American citizen, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper," said Tlaib.
According to the State Department and IDF, the bullet was too damaged to determine the origin of the projectile. However, the US Security Coordinator said that based on the summary investigations by Israel and the Palestinians, it was likely that gunfire from IDF positions was responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.” The USSC also said that there is no indication that the death of Abu Akleh was intentional.
"Despite doing everything they can to blame others for their actions, the fact remains that the Israeli government has yet to provide a single scrap of verifiable evidence that they didn’t murder Shireen," she said.
Tlaib notes that almost 80 US congresspeople have called for an independent US investigation. On Tuesday US State Department Spokesman Ned Price called for accountability for Abu Akleh's death, but reiterated the Biden administration's position that the shooting was “not intentional, but rather the result of tragic circumstances.”Biden will visit Israel on July 13-16 in the first part of his Middle East trip.