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Saturday May 28, 2022

Thousands mourn at funeral for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

By AFP
May 14, 2022

OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Thousands of people packed al-Quds tense Old City on Friday for the burial of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, after Israeli police stormed the start of the funeral procession.

Israel and the Palestinians have traded blame over the fatal shooting of the Palestinian-American on Wednesday during an Israeli raid in the flashpoint city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

The European Union said it was "appalled" by the "unnecessary force" used by Israeli police before and during Abu Akleh’s funeral. The al-Quds Red Crescent said 33 people were injured during the procession, of whom six were hospitalised. Israeli police said they made six arrests. An Israeli commando was killed during a fresh shootout with Palestinian gunmen near Jenin. The Islamic Jihad group said its fighters were responsible.

The Israeli army said an interim investigation could not determine who fired the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, noting that stray Palestinian gunfire or Israeli sniper fire aimed at militants were both possible causes.

Al Jazeera has said Israel killed her "deliberately" and "in cold blood." Abu Akleh, a Christian, was a hugely revered Palestinian reporter and her funeral in her native Jerusalem drew massive crowds.

As her body left St. Joseph’s hospital in Israeli-annexed east al-Quds, Israeli police stormed the crowds who were hoisting Palestinian flags. The Jewish state forbids public displays of Palestinian flags and routinely intervenes against those who parade them at demonstrations or other gatherings.

TV images showed Abu Akleh’s coffin nearly falling to the ground as Israeli police grabbed the flags from the crowd outside the hospital. Police said they had warned the crowd to stop "nationalistic" songs and were forced to act as "violent rioters (were) trying to disrupt the proper course of the funeral." An Israeli government official claimed mourners had thrown "rocks and glass bottles".

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