Israeli police push and beat mourners carrying coffin of slain Al Jazeera journalist

On Friday, Israeli police charged Palestinian mourners carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, before thousands drove her coffin through Jerusalem’s Old City in a wave of grief and grief. anger about his murder.

Huddled around Abu Akleh’s coffin, dozens of Palestinians, some waving Palestinian flags and chanting “with our soul and blood we will redeem you Shireen”, began marching towards the gates of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Israeli police, in an apparent attempt to stop them walking rather than drive the coffin, burst through the courtyard gates and charged into the crowd, some hitting the bearers with batons and beating them of foot.

At one point, the group carrying his coffin leaned against a wall and nearly dropped the coffin, retrieving it just before one end hit the ground when stun grenades exploded.

Add to tensions

The violent scenes, which lasted just minutes, added to Palestinian outrage over the killing of Abu Akleh, which threatens to fuel violence that has escalated since March.

The violent scenes, which lasted just minutes, added to Palestinian outrage over the killing of Abu Akleh, which threatens to fuel violence that has escalated since March. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Abu Akleh, who had covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than two decades, was shot dead on Wednesday while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian authorities have described Abu Akleh’s murder as an assassination by Israeli forces. The Israeli government initially suggested that Palestinian fire may have been to blame, but officials also said they could not rule out that Israeli fire killed her.

Israeli police said a group of Palestinians outside the hospital, whom they described as rioters, began throwing stones at the officers. “The police were forced to act,” they added.

Qatar and Al Jazeera condemned the police conduct. Deputy UN spokeswoman Farhan Haq said the scenes were “very shocking”, and US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she was “deeply moved by the images”. while the EU expressed dismay.

Minutes after police intervened, Abu Akleh’s coffin was placed in a vehicle heading for the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where the funeral ceremony took place. unfolded peacefully.

Crowds of Palestinians lined the narrow lanes of the Old City as the coffin was carried to the nearby Mount Zion cemetery.

Family and friends carry the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in Jerusalem on Friday. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

His grave was covered with wreaths and the Palestinian flag draped over the grave cross as mourners solemnly surrounded him, paying their respects to Abu Akleh.

“We are here because we demand justice. Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh and justice for Palestine,” said a mourner, who did not want to be identified by name.

No findings from initial Israeli investigation

The Israeli army said on Friday that its initial investigation “concluded that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the shots that hit and killed Ms. Abu Akleh.”

She may have been killed by gunfire from Palestinian militants firing at Israeli military vehicles or was inadvertently hit by an Israeli soldier who fired back, he added.

A Palestinian rides a bicycle past a mural painted by an artist in honor of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Gaza City on Friday. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli forces resumed raids on the outskirts of Jenin on Friday, where Abu Akleh was killed, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were injured.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the death of an Israeli policeman during an exchange of gunfire in Jenin.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said events in Jerusalem and Jenin could push the sides into serious escalation.

Abu Akleh’s death was widely condemned. Video footage moments after she was shot shows Abu Akleh, 51, wearing a blue vest marked “Press”.

At least two of her colleagues who were with her said they had come under Israeli sniper fire and were not close to the militants.

Israel, which expressed regret for Abu Akleh’s death, offered a joint investigation with the Palestinians, asking them to provide the bullet for examination.

The Palestinians rejected the Israeli request and called for an international investigation.