Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, criticized the US Department of Justice on Tuesday for opening an investigation into the death of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera journalist who was fatally shot while covering a news story. Israeli military raid on terrorists in the West Bank city of Jenin earlier this year.
“Joe Biden and his administration view Israel and Prime Minister-Elect Benjamin Netanyahu as political enemies, so they are responding to them the same way they respond to all their political enemies: by unleashing the FBI,” Cruz said in a statement. on Tuesday.
“Our Israeli allies, from the beginning, cooperated closely with the United States in the investigation of this incident, and the State Department and the Departments of Defense had already drawn their conclusions.”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said for the first time on Monday that the US Justice Department is investigating Abu Akleh’s death.
ISRAELI POLICE SHOWDOWN WITH MOURNINGS CARRYING THE COFFIN OF AL JAZEERA JOURNALIST SHIREEN ABU AKLEH
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid criticized the investigation Tuesday, saying Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers “will not be investigated by the FBI or by any foreign country or body, however friendly.”
“The IDF is a moral and ethical army. IDF soldiers and their commanders defend the State of Israel. They thoroughly investigate any irregular events and are committed to the values and laws of democracy.”
The IDF concluded in September that an Israeli soldier probably shot Abu Akleh by mistake.
Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for the United States to conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of Abu Akleh’s death and hailed this week’s announcement.
“This is a necessary and important overdue step in the pursuit of justice and accountability in the shooting death of US citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said in a statement. on Monday.
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The investigation comes after the Israeli elections, which resulted in Benjamin Netanyahu tasked with forming a new right-wing government.
Fox News’ Yonat Friling contributed to this report.