Israeli police charged Palestinian mourners carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Aqleh on Friday, before thousands of people mourning and angering his murder led his coffin through Jerusalem’s old city. Were were
Around Abu Aqleh’s coffin, dozens of Palestinians, some waving Palestinian flags and chanting, “With our soul and blood we will deliver you, Shirin,” began walking toward the gates of St.
Israeli police, in an apparent bid to stop them from proceeding on foot instead of taking the coffins by car, broke down courtyard gates and charged the crowd, some with batons and kicking pallbearers.
At one point the group carrying his coffin supported it against a wall and nearly dropped the coffin, recovering it just before one end hit the ground as the stun grenades exploded.
The violent scene, which lasted only a few minutes, added to Palestinian outrage over the killing of Abu Aqleh, who has threatened to fuel increased violence since the march.
Abu Akleh, who covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than two decades, was shot on Wednesday while reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian officials have described the killing of Abu Akleh as an assassination by the Israeli military. Israel’s government initially suggested that Palestinian fires may be to blame, but officials have also said they cannot rule out Israeli firing.
Israeli police said outside the hospital a group of Palestinians, whom they described as rioters, had started throwing stones at officers. “The policemen were forced to act,” he said.
Qatar and Al Jazeera condemned the police’s conduct. UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said the visuals were “very shocking” and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she was “deeply distressed by the images,” while the European Union said it was shocked.
Minutes after police intervention, Abu Aqleh’s coffin was placed in a vehicle headed to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin in Jerusalem’s walled old city, where the funeral took place peacefully.
A crowd of Palestinians stood in the narrow streets of the old city as the coffin was taken to the nearby Mount Zion cemetery.
His grave was covered with wreaths and was completely surrounded by mourners, paying homage to Abu Aqleh.
“We are here because we are crying out for justice. Justice for Shirin Abu Akleh and justice for Palestine,” said one mourner, who did not wish to be identified by name.
investigation, and raids
The Israeli military said on Friday that its preliminary investigation “concluded that it is not possible to unambiguously determine the source of the gunshot that struck and killed Ms. Abu Akle.”
He may have been killed by Palestinian terrorists fired at Israeli military vehicles or shot dead by an Israeli soldier, it has been said.
Israeli forces on Friday resumed raids on the outskirts of Jenin, where Abu Akleh was killed, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were wounded.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group meanwhile claimed responsibility for the death of an Israeli police officer in an exchange of gunfire in Jenin.
Nabil Abu Rudineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the incidents in Jerusalem and Jenin could push the sides under serious tension.
There has been widespread condemnation of the death of Abu Akleh. Video footage after the shooting showed 51-year-old Abu Akleh wearing a blue vest with “PRESS” written on it.
At least two of his aides accompanying him said they had come under Israeli sniper firing and were not close to the terrorists.
Israel, which has expressed regret over the death of Abu Akleh, has proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinians, asking them to provide bullets for investigation.
The Palestinians have rejected Israel’s request and called for an international investigation.