JERUSALEM ( Associated Press) – Thousands of Palestinians are expected to attend the funeral in Jerusalem on Friday of an Al Jazeera journalist who witnesses say was covering a military operation in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces earlier this week. was shot while doing
In recent days there has been a wave of mourning in the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world over the death of Shirin Abu Akleh, a veteran on-air correspondent who has spent a quarter century covering the harsh realities of life under Israeli military rule. Which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight.
His body will be cremated Friday afternoon at a Catholic church in Jerusalem’s Old City before being taken to a nearby cemetery for burial. Large crowds are expected to attend amid a heavy presence of Israeli police. Qatar-based Al Jazeera said its managing director, Ahmed Alayafi, would travel to Jerusalem to attend the funeral.
Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullets for forensic analysis to determine who triggered the deadly round. The PA has refused, saying it will conduct its own investigation and take the case to the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating possible Israeli war crimes.
Both parties are likely to cast doubt on any conclusions made by the other party, and there is no possibility of an independent investigation by a third party.
The PA and Al Jazeera accused Israel of intentionally killing Abu Akle within hours of his death. Israel says a thorough investigation is needed before any conclusion can be reached whether the deadly bullet was fired by its forces or by Palestinian militants.
Rights groups say Israel rarely investigates the killing of Palestinians by its security forces and on rare occasions offers liberal punishments.
Abu Akle, 51, joined Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language service in 1997 and rose to prominence in the early 2000s while covering the Second Palestinian Intifada, or insurgency against the Israeli regime. The veteran reporter was a widely respected member of the local press corps.
He was shot in the head early Wednesday while covering an Israeli arrest raid in the West Bank city of Jenin. Palestinians in and around Jenin have carried out a series of deadly attacks inside Israel in recent weeks, and Israel has launched daily arrest raids in the region, often igniting gun battles with militants.
Israeli troops again infiltrated Jenin early on Friday. An Associated Press photographer heard heavy gunfire and explosions and said Israeli troops had surrounded a house.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 11 Palestinians were hospitalized after being wounded in the fighting, including one with a bullet injury in the stomach. The Israeli military tweeted that Palestinians opened fire as its forces went to arrest suspected terrorists.
The reporter who was with Abu Akleh, one of whom was shot and wounded, said there was no conflict or militants in the immediate area when he was killed in the early hours of Wednesday. They were all wearing protective equipment that clearly identified them as journalists.
Israel says that there was heavy firing on its forces by militants in different parts of the city that day. Israeli officials initially suggested that Abu Akleh may have been killed by Palestinian bullets, but later backed down and now say they have not yet reached any firm conclusions.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war—including the Old City and sacred sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Palestinians want both regions as part of their future state. Israel did not recognize East Jerusalem internationally and viewed the entire city as its capital.
Police went to Abu Aqle’s family home in Jerusalem the day he was killed and appeared at other mourning events in the city to remove the Palestinian flag. Tension has increased a lot regarding the funeral.