Israeli police attack funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh who was shot dead | Israel

Israeli police attack funeral procession of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh who was shot dead |  Israel

Israeli forces this week attacked a funeral procession for a shot dead Palestinian-American journalist, kicking and hitting people with batons and causing mourners carrying her coffin to lose their balance and cause it to fall to the ground.

Police said the mourners “disturbed public order”. Footage showed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh’s coffin on the shoulders of mourners outside St Joseph’s Hospital in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem as police rushed in and attacked people, some holding Palestinian flags. The sound of a stun grenade could be heard.

Israel bans the public display of Palestinian flags and often prevents people from raising them at rallies and protests in the city.

A senior Palestinian figure, Hanan Ashrawi, tweeted that “savage Israeli ‘special forces’ brutally attacked the funeral procession carrying the coffin” of Abu Aqleh as he left St. Joseph’s Hospital. “The inhumanity [of] Israel is on full display,” said the former Palestine Liberation Organization official.

Police said they held talks with Abu Aqleh’s family to “arrange a respectable burial. Unfortunately, under the auspices of the funeral and taking advantage of its cynical advantages, hundreds of people have begun to disrupt public order [the funeral] even started.

“As the coffin was about to leave the hospital, stones began being thrown at officers from the hospital square, and officers were forced to use funds to disperse the riots.”

Police released video of an officer addressing the crowd outside the hospital grounds. “If you don’t stop with these chants and [Palestinian] nationalist songs, we will have to disperse them by force and we will not allow the burial,” says the official.

Abu Aqleh’s coffin left the hospital grounds in a vehicle and arrived at a Jerusalem church for her burial.

The 51-year-old reporter was shot in the head in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday morning, while her colleagues at the scene said it was an Israeli burst of fire at a small group of journalists covering an expected Israeli military attack.

The Israeli military said its troops fired back after coming under “massive fire” in Jenin and that “there is a possibility, now being investigated, that reporters were hit – possibly by gunfire from Palestinian gunmen.” The Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen Aviv Kochavi, however, later appeared to distance himself from these claims, saying: “At this time we cannot determine by whose fire she was injured and we regret her death.”

Video of the incident showed Abu Aqleh wearing a helmet and body armor clearly marked “Press”. Ali Samodi, an Al Jazeera producer who was shot in the back, told the Guardian from his hospital bed that, contrary to claims by Israeli officials, there were no gunmen near the journalists when they were attacked.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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