The United States announced on Monday that it has not been able to reach a definitive conclusion on the origin of the bullet that killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but said that Israeli forces "probably" fired the shots.
This was stated in a statement by State Department spokesman Ned Price, who released the results of the forensic and ballistic analysis carried out by independent US experts on the bullet that killed Akleh, which the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) handed over to Washington this weekend.
According to Price, the group of experts was unable to reach "a definitive conclusion" on the origin of the bullet because it was "badly damaged".
However, the US has determined that Israeli forces "probably" shot Akleh, although it said it had "no reason to believe that it was intentional" but the result of "tragic circumstances" during an Israeli army-led operation against Islamic Jihad factions.
Washington came to that conclusion after weeks of reviewing investigations by the Israeli military and the Palestinian National Authority, Price said in his statement.
The investigation was overseen by the Office of the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC), which was established in 2005 to coordinate with Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
In his statement, the State Department spokesman thanked Israel and the Palestinian Authority for their cooperation in clarifying the death of Akleh, a dual Palestinian and US citizen.
"We will continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the next steps and urge accountability. Again, we offer our deepest condolences to Akleh's family," Price added.
The PNA, which conducted its own investigation in May, accused the Israeli army of killing Akleh.
Israel, which initially doubted that its troops were behind the death and attributed it to Palestinian militiamen, later said it needed to examine the bullet to determine whether it was used by its soldiers and caused Akleh's death, but the PNA refused to hand over the bullet to Israel.
Several media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Al Jazeera carried out their own investigations and claimed that the reporter was most likely shot dead by Israeli soldiers.
Abu Akleh's death on 11 May while covering an Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp sparked a wave of outrage in the Palestinian territory and internationally.
US President Joe Biden, who had called for an investigation into Akleh's death, will visit Israel and the West Bank on 13-14 July.