Israeli police clashed with Palestinian mourners surrounding .’s coffin killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh at the start of her funeral procession in Jerusalem on Friday.
Masked police officers were confronted by dozens of flag-waving and singing Palestinians on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem, television images show.
Officers stormed into the crowd and at one point the group leaned its coffin against a wall and nearly dropped the coffin, just before one end touched the ground.
The violent scenes underlined growing anger over Abu Akleh’s murder, which threatens to add to an already raging conflict.
Abu Akleh, who has covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than two decades, was gunned down Wednesday while reporting an Israeli attack on the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian authorities described the assassination of Abu Akleh as an assassination by Israeli forces. The Israeli government initially suggested that Palestinian fire could be to blame, but officials have also said they could not rule out the possibility of her being killed by Israeli gunfire.
One of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen! Even in death, Shireen Abu Akleh is attacked by Israeli forces. Police attack pallbearers carrying the coffin of a journalist who was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers. Why? Because the coffin is draped in the Palestinian flag pic.twitter.com/zr4kNbQLe3
— Hind Hassan (@HindHassanNews) May 13, 2022
On Friday, Israeli police said the group of Palestinians they described as rioters had started throwing rocks at the hospital complex. “The police officers were forced to intervene,” they added. There was no immediate comment from the Palestinian authorities.
A few minutes later, Abu Akleh’s coffin was placed in a vehicle bound for the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where the ceremony passed off peacefully.
Investigations and raids
The Israeli military said Friday that the initial investigation “concluded that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire that struck and killed Ms. Abu Akleh.”
The investigation has revealed two possibilities, the army said in a statement. The first was that Abu Akleh was hit by Palestinian militants who fired dozens of bullets at Israeli military vehicles, “which is also the direction where Ms. Abu Akleh was”.
The second, that an Israeli soldier firing at a gunman from a jeep accidentally hit her. The vehicle was located about 200 meters from Abu Akleh, the army said.
Israeli forces on Friday resumed attacks in the suburbs of Jenin, where Abu Akleh was killed.
At least 13 people were injured, the Palestinian health ministry said. The military said an Israeli police officer was seriously injured in what it said was counter-terrorism.
The Jenin Brigade, an armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group, said its fighters engaged in armed clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin and residents said Israeli forces arrested a militant from the Islamic Jihad Group.
Abu Akleh’s death has led to widespread condemnation. Video footage of the moments after she was shot showed Abu Akleh, 51, wearing a blue vest that read “Press”.
At least two of her colleagues who were with her said they had come under Israeli sniper fire and were not close to militants.
Israel, which has expressed regret over Abu Akleh’s death, has proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinians and asked them to provide the bullet for investigation.
The Palestinians have rejected the Israeli request. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that Israel is fully responsible and called for an international investigation.
Israel has stepped up its raids amid deadly attacks in Israel. Since March, Palestinians and members of Israel’s Arab minority have killed 18 people, including three police officers and a security guard, in attacks in Israel and the West Bank, mainly targeting civilians.
Some of the attackers are from the Jenin area. Israel’s arrest raids in the West Bank have often sparked clashes, bringing the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops or armed civilians since the beginning of the year to at least 42. The victims include armed members of militant groups, lone attackers and bystanders.