Palestine: Israeli police attack mourners carrying Abu Akleh’s body during funeral procession

By Abdelraouf Arna’out

JERUSALEM (AA): Israeli police on Friday assaulted Palestinian mourners in the funeral procession of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in occupied East Jerusalem.

EU has called for a “thorough and independent investigation” into the death of Abu Akleh.

Thousands of Palestinians participated in the funeral ceremony of the veteran journalist.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli police attacked the funeral procession as it started from the French hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The Israeli police used stun grenade, tear gas and batons in assaulting the Palestinians, which left dozens injured, according to a statement by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

Live video images showed that Abu Akleh’s casket was about to fall on the ground due to the Israeli assault on the Palestinians who were carrying it.

Foreign diplomats, including those of Qatar and the US, joined the funeral procession of the slain journalist.

Funeral service was held at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin.

The Israeli police allowed few Palestinians to accompany her casket to Jerusalem’s Old City, where she was buried at the Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation.”

A press statement was approved by the 15 council members after language was removed emphasizing the importance of media freedom and the need for journalists working in dangerous areas to be protected at the insistence of China and Russia, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private, reported ABC news.

Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State said US was “deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today. Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply disturbed” by the actions of “some” Israeli officers who violently attacked slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession, his spokesman said on Friday.

Guterres “was deeply disturbed by the confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinians gathered at St. Joseph Hospital, and the behavior of some police present at the scene,” spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

“He continues to urge respect for fundamental human rights, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression and to peaceful assembly,” he added.

The European Union condemned Israeli police’s “the disproportionate use of force” during the funeral ceremony of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

“The European Union is appalled by the scenes unfolding” at the funeral procession of Abu Akleh, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

He asserted that the bloc condemns “the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behavior” of the Israeli police against the participants.

Borrell also pointed out that it is “the minimal human respect” to allow a peaceful farewell “without harassment and humiliation.”

He reiterated the EU’s call for a “thorough and independent investigation” into the death of Abu Akleh.

Veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was covering Israeli military raids near the Jenin refugee camp in occupied West Bank when she was shot dead on Wednesday. Palestinian officials and the Doha-based network say she was targeted by Israeli forces.


* Writing by Ahmed Asmar

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Israeli forces attack intervene in Palestinians carrying the coffin of slain Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of the morgue of the Saint Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem on May 13, 2022.  Photojournalist :Mostafa Alkharouf/AA]

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