Israeli forces attacked a crowd of mourners carrying the casket of the Al Jazeera journalist who was shot dead while covering a raid in the West Bank earlier this week.
Shireen Abu Akleh’s body was being brought from the town of Jenin – where she was killed by Israeli forces, according to eye witnesses – to Jerusalem via Nablus and Ramallah, in a procession ahead of her funeral in the Old City of East Jerusalem.
But as mourners, many carrying Palestinian flags, transported the casket of the Palestinian-American journalist from the St Louis French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, they were attacked by Israeli security forces.
Footage shared by media networks and online showed armored Israeli officers descend on those moving the casket with batons, before beating and kicking a number of the mourners. There were reports of stun grenades being thrown also.
Among those fleeing the scene were children and women, while other members of Abu Akleh’s procession attempt to guard her casket, which appears close to falling to the ground at some points.
Following the sudden outburst of violence, Israeli forces appear to pull back while a person is hastened through the crowd on a stretcher.
Thosands of Palestinians attended the funeral before her burial at the Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery alongside her late parents on Friday.
Recent days have seen an outpouring of grief from across the Palestine and the wider Arab world. Abu Akleh was a widely respected correspondent who 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.
Al Jazeerathe Qatari-based broadcaster said Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces.
In a statement, Al Jazeera called on the international community to “condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for deliberately targeting and killing our colleague, Shireen Abu Akleh”. Its managing director, Ahmad Alyafei, traveled to Jerusalem to attend the funeral.
Qatar’s assistant foreign minister, Lollwah al Khater, tweeted footage of the attacks on the mourners.
In Wednesday’s attack, another journalist, working for the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds The newspaper, was also shot and wounded in the incident, and also blamed Israel for the incident.
The Israeli military initially disputed that its forces had shot the two journalists.
It said Israeli soldiers came under attack with heavy gunfire and explosives while operating in Jenin, and that they fired back.
The military said it is “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that the journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen”.
Israel has now called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority into the killing.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has since said that he would take Abu Akleh’s case to the International Criminal Court in an effort to get justice for the correspondent, who joined Al Jazeera in 1997.
She rose to prominence covering the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising against Israeli rule, in the early 2000s. She was shot in the head early Wednesday while covering an Israeli arrest raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Israeli troops pushed into Jenin again early Friday. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were hospitalised after being wounded in the fighting, including one who was shot in the stomach. The Israeli military tweeted that Palestinians opened fire when its forces went in to arrest suspected militants. Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem — including the Old City and its holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims — in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want both territories as part of their future state. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital. Police went to Abu Akleh’s family home in Jerusalem the day she was killed and have shown up at other mourning events in the city to remove Palestinian flags.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /