The bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh came from the approx. position of an Israel military vehicle — most likely fired by a soldier from an elite unit. It was one of 16 bullets fired into the direction of 5 clearly marked journalists. Our investigation: nytimes.com/2022/06/20/world…

Jun 20, 2022 · 9:49 AM UTC

220
4,056
263
7,865
Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name in the Middle East. Her killing drew global outrage and for Palestinians embodied the dangers of living under Israeli occupation. Palestinian deaths seldom attract int'l scrutiny and Israeli soldiers accused of crimes are rarely convicted.
15
134
4
540
We reconstructed the hours, minutes and seconds leading up to Abu Akleh’s killing by visiting the site, obtaining security camera footage, interviewing witnesses, analyzing bystanders videos, assessing official claims, and consulting audio, medical and weapons forensic experts.
9
100
3
436
It’s around 3am on May 11 when residents in Jenin, West Bank, hear a drone flying overhead — often a precursor to an Israeli incursion. Abu Akleh is still asleep in a hotel. She had come to Jenin to cover Israel’s raids that were said to be in response to Palestinian attacks.
2
71
1
324
An hour later, at about 4am, local WhatsApp groups spring alive with reports that a military convoy is heading to the Jenin refugee camp, an area mainly populated by descendants of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in 1948.
3
65
1
285
Fatima al-Hosari, a resident of the camp, sees the reports and fears the army is coming for two of her sons. A third son had been killed during an Israeli raid in March. Now her two other sons are accused by the Israeli army of militant activity. She wakes them up, they leave.
6
65
1
276
Al-Hosari’s suspicions are right: at 5:19am, security camera footage shows three Israeli soldiers closing in on her house. Minutes later, neighbour record soldiers at her front door and a loudspeaker announcing the IDF’s arrival.
4
70
1
296
13,906
Shortly after, Israeli soldiers force their way through the building and start exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen to their south. That gunfight lasts for nearly an hour and is captured on dozens of social media videos and surveillance footage.
7
55
1
244
At 5:45am, Abu Akleh is awaked by a call from her longtime producer, Ali Samoudi — photographed here by @Samar_Hazboun. Samoudi urges Abu Akleh to get to the scene of the Al-Hosari raid as soon as possible.
5
57
252
At 6:10am, two other journalists, Mujahed Saadi and @ShazaAbed, arrive north of where the Al-Hosari raid is taking place. They decide to wait for Abu Akleh and move as a group to increase visibility. Abu Akleh arrives several minutes later.
1
56
1
236
Then, at 6:24, a key moment: an Israeli convoy, sent to extract soldiers involved in the Al-Hosari raid, arrives on the nearby New Camp Street, surveillance footage shows. The convoy is led by an MDT David armored vehicle, No. 1 and licence plate 617172-ע. Timestamp is 1hr off.
3
64
1
259
12,158
At the exact same time, Sleem Awad starts a TikTok livestream from where Abu Akleh and the journalists are standing. He's a camp resident who had been following the raid on social media and ventured outside to see for himself.
1
55
228
Three minutes later, at 6:27, a different security camera shows soldiers near the Al-Hosari house moving towards the convoy that has arrived to pick them up. There's a lull in the gunfight by now. Note: timestamp is 12 hours off.
2
62
1
224
14,619
The alley in the security camera above leads to New Camp Street, where the Israeli convoy has positioned itself by now. Multiple photos and videos from different angles show that the MDT David No. 1 is parked at this junction.
3
56
1
214
At 6:31, that same MDT David is also filmed by Awad, the TikTok livestreamer. “Take another picture of me, in case we get martyred,” he tells a bystander, laughing. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is relatively calm by now with that lull in the gunfight.
3
57
2
220
10,473
This is less than a minute before Abu Akleh would be killed. Based on the surveillance footage and bystanders videos, we have a good understanding of the movements and positions of Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians. This is key in determining who killed her.
5
65
2
256
(In the minutes before, journalists Saadi and Hanaysha intended to make the Israeli convoy aware of their presence by standing at the junction in clear journalist attire. That's visible in Awad's video, but it's unclear whether the MDT David would have a line of sight on them.)
5
50
1
203
Then, at 6:31 — with the raid ending and a lull in the nearby gunfight — Abu Akleh and four others clearly marked as journalists decide to walk towards the Israeli convoy, about 200 meters away. Awad video captures 6 shots. And then 7 more, also filmed by Al Jazeera.
5
87
2
287
18,242
This still, from an Al Jazeera video, shows that Abu Akleh was running away from the convoy and ducking for cover from the first burst of shots. The bullet that killed her hit her in the back of the head and was part of the second burst.
5
99
3
291
Two minutes later, at 6:33, 20-year-old Jenin resident Sharif al-Azab tried to cross the road to get Abu Akleh's body to safety. But then three more bullets flashed past, forcing him up against the wall.
3
92
3
251
14,914
Measuring the milliseconds between the sound of each bullet leaving the gun barrel and the time it passed the cameras' microphones, two experts (Robert Maher and Steven Beck) calculated the distance of the gunfire: the approximate location of the Israeli MDT David.
8
94
6
291
Investigative reports by @Bellingcat, @AP, @cnni and @washingtonpost also concluded that the Israeli military had probably killed Abu Akleh.
4
107
1
332
The evidence reviewed by @nytimes showed that there were no armed Palestinians near Abu Akleh when she was shot. It contradicted Israeli claims that, if a soldier had mistakenly killed her, it was because he had been shooting at a Palestinian gunman.
14
157
2
465
As always, this investigation was teamwork: @RajaAbdulrahim, @PatrickKingsley and @Hibamyazbek reported from Jenin and Jerusalem, as @whitney_hurst and Phil Robibero helped produce the reconstruction from Brooklyn. @johnismay, @heytherehaley and @ckoettl contributed reporting.
5
43
2
265
A big thanks to the many residents of the Jenin camp that talked to our team. Also thanks to @AKMcKeever and @Joey_Galvin who published geolocated videos in the immediate aftermath, useful for later reference.
7
37
242
One more (important) timeline detail: we know, from the surveillance footage, that the Israeli convoy left at 6:44 via the junction where Abu Akleh was killed. It is possible that this was the intended exit route for the extraction convoy all along.
5
43
215
Important to note: IDF's preliminary investigation found that a Duvdevan soldier fired five bullets into Abu Akleh's direction from a narrow opening from the vehicle the @nytimes identified as the MDT David. We believe that are those gunports seen here (albeit on other side).
4
80
5
254
Critically, the aural analysis of the gunfire suggested that all 16 bullets —not just five— were fired from the approximate location of the MDT David.
17
71
1
295