Israeli police indicted Palestinian mourners with the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akle on Friday. Thousands of people led her coffin through the Old City of Jerusalem, pouring out sorrow and anger over her death.
Dozens of Palestinians filled around the coffin of Abu Akleh, some waving Palestinian flags, saying, “We will redeem you with our soul and blood. Shireen” and started walking towards the door of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Israeli police smashed a courtyard door and rushed into the crowd in an apparent attempt to prevent them from driving and taking a coffin, some beating and kicking spectators with clubs.
At one point, the group holding her coffin leaned against a wall and nearly dropped the coffin, which was retrieved just before one end fell to the ground when the stun grenade exploded.
Violent scenes, which lasted only a few minutes, fueled Palestinian outrage over Abu Accle’s killing, threatening to fuel a surge in violence since March.
Abu Akleh, who has been covering Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than 20 years, was shot Wednesday while reporting on an Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian authorities have classified the murder of Abu Akle as an Israeli assassination. Al Jazeera said in a news report that he had been shot by Israeli forces.
The Israeli government initially suggested that the Palestinian shooting could be responsible, but officials also said they couldn’t rule out that it was an Israeli shooting that killed her.
Qatar and Al Jazeera have condemned the actions of Israeli police. UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said the scene was “very shocking”, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “deeply saddened by the image” and that the EU was horrified.
Minutes after police intervened, Abu Akleh’s coffin was placed in a vehicle heading to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Jerusalem’s walled old town, where a peaceful funeral took place.
Palestinians lined the narrow streets of the Old Town while coffins were moved to the nearby Mount Zion Cemetery.
Her tomb was covered with a wreath and a Palestinian flag was hung over the tomb cross as mourners solemnly surrounded it in homage to Abu Akleh.
“We are here because we cry for justice. Justice for Shireen Abu Akleh and justice for Palestine,” said one mourner who did not want to be named.
investigation and raid
The Israeli military said in an initial investigation on Friday that it had “concluded that it was impossible to establish unequivocally the source of the shooting that struck and killed Abu Akleh.”
She may have been killed in a shooting by Palestinian militants at an Israeli military vehicle or may have been accidentally hit by a counterattack by Israeli soldiers, the report said.
Israeli forces resumed airstrikes on the outskirts of Genin, where Abu Akleh was killed on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were injured.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian Islamic jihad group claimed responsibility for the killing of an Israeli police officer in a shooting in Genin.
Nabil Abu Rudeine, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the events in Jerusalem and Jenin could put both sides into a serious situation.
Abu Akleh’s death provoked widespread condemnation. Video footage shortly after she was shot shows Abu Akleh, 51, wearing a blue vest marked “Press”.
At least two of her co-workers said they had been attacked by Israeli snipers and were not close to militants.
Israel, expressing regret over the death of Abu Acle, has proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinians, demanding that bullets be provided.
The Palestinians rejected Israel’s request and called for an international inquiry.