Mourners hit with batons during funeral for slain journalist Shireen Abu Aqla

The funeral procession for slain Shireen Abu Aqla was interrupted by violent scenes with video footage showing Israeli police beating mourners with batons.

Israeli police confront with mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Aqla during her funeral in east Jerusalem.

Israeli police confront with mourners as they carry the casket of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Aqla during her funeral in east Jerusalem. Source: AP / Maya Levin/AP

Israeli police officers charged at mourners carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqla, before thousands led her casket through Jerusalem's Old City in an outpouring of grief and anger over her killing.

Packed around Ms Abu Aqla's coffin, dozens of Palestinians began walking toward the gates of St Joseph's Hospital on Friday.

They were waving Palestinian flags and chanting "with our soul and blood we will redeem you Shireen".

Israeli police officers, in an apparent bid to stop them proceeding by foot rather than taking the coffin by car, burst through the courtyard gates and charged at the crowd, some beating pallbearers with batons and kicking them.
At one point the group carrying her coffin backed against a wall and almost dropped the casket, recovering it just before one end hit the ground as stun grenades detonated.

The violent scenes, which lasted only minutes, added to Palestinian outrage over Ms Abu Aqla's killing, which has threatened to fuel violence that has surged since March.

Ms Abu Aqla, who had covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for more than two decades, was shot while reporting on an Israeli raid in the West Bank on Wednesday.

Palestinian authorities have described Ms Abu Aqla's killing as an assassination by Israeli forces.
Israel's government initially suggested Palestinian fire might have been to blame, but officials have also said they could not rule out it was Israeli gunfire that killed her.

Israeli police said a group of Palestinians outside the hospital, whom they described as rioters, had begun throwing stones at officers.

"The policemen were forced to act," they added.

Egypt, Qatar and Al Jazeera condemned the police's conduct.

Deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said the scenes were "very shocking" and the EU said it was appalled.

A few minutes after police intervened, Ms Aqla's coffin was placed in a vehicle that headed toward the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin in Jerusalem's Walled Old City, where the funeral ceremony proceeded peacefully.

Crowds of Palestinians lined the narrow alleyways of the Old City as the coffin was carried to the Mount Zion Cemetery nearby.
People holding coffin appear to drop it as Israeli police surround
At one point it's understood the coffin nearly hit the ground as pall bearers were backed up to the wall during the procession. Source: AP / Maya Levin/AP
Her grave was covered in wreaths and the Palestinian flag draped over the grave cross as mourners surrounded it, paying tribute to Ms Abu Aqla.

"We're here because we are screaming for justice. Justice for Shireen Abu Aqla and justice for Palestine," said one mourner, who did not want to be identified by name.

The Israeli military said on Friday that its initial investigation "concluded that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire which hit and killed Ms Abu Aqla."

She may have been killed by shots fired by Palestinian militants shooting at Israeli military vehicles or been hit inadvertently by an Israeli soldier returning fire, it said.

The Palestinian Attorney General's office issued a statement on Friday saying initial investigations have found that the sole source of gunfire in the area where Ms Abu Aqla was hurt was Israeli.

Israeli forces on Friday resumed raids on the outskirts of Jenin, where Ms Abu Aqla was killed, and the Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians had been wounded.
A Palestinian boy chants slogans while holding a placard expressing his opinion during Shireen Abu Aqla's funeral procession.
A Palestinian boy holds a picture and quote by the veteran journalist during the funeral procession in Jerusalem. Credit: SOPA Images/Sipa USA
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group meanwhile claimed responsibility for the death of an Israeli police officer in an exchange of gunfire in Jenin.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said events in Jerusalem and Jenin could push the sides into serious escalation.

Ms Abu Aqla's death has drawn widespread condemnation.

Video footage from the moments after she was shot showed Ms Abu Aqla, 51, wearing a blue vest marked "Press".

At least two of her colleagues who were with her said that they had come under Israeli sniper fire and that they were not close to militants.

Israel has proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinians, asking them to provide the bullet for examination.

The Palestinians have rejected the Israeli request and have called for an international investigation.

4 min read
Published 14 May 2022 at 1:46pm
Source: Reuters,SBS