Israeli Riot Police Attacked Mourners Carrying Shireen Abu Akleh’s Coffin

Video footage showed Israeli forces striking pallbearers with batons ahead of the Al Jazeera journalist's funeral in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
shireen-abu-akleh-funeral
PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli police beat mourners carrying the coffin of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed after being shot in the head while reporting on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera, the broadcaster that employed Abu Akleh, and three journalists who witnessed her death blamed Israeli forces for shooting her. Israel initially suggested she was killed by stray fire from Palestinian fighters, but later said it was too early to tell how she died.

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Abu Akleh’s coffin was carried through the streets of occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, where Israeli forces attacked mourners, causing them to briefly lose grip of her casket.

Her funeral was attended by thousands of Palestinians.

Abu Akleh died while covering Israeli raids on the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. She had covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 2 decades. 

Her death brought Palestinians of all backgrounds together to mourn the reporter who told the story of seemingly endless conflicts for the Arabic speaking audience. The church bells of every different branch of Christianity rang out together when Abu Akleh’s coffin was buried, in a scene of unity seen for the first time in hundreds of years.  

The funeral procession started with crowds gathered around St Louis French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood before heading to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin in occupied East Jerusalem for the funeral. 

She was buried in the nearby Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery next to her parents, while thousands chanted pro-Palestinian slogans.

Her body had been brought from Jenin via Nablus and Ramallah, where people paid their respects. 

The death of the veteran journalist was met with outrage, and countries around the world called for an independent investigation. 

The Washington Post reported that an IDF soldier was under investigation for the “possibility” of shooting the journalist during the raid on the refugee camp in Jenin, citing Israeli officials.

On Thursday, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said his government would take Abu Akleh’s case to the International Criminal Court to bring those behind her killing to justice during a speech in an official funeral procession in Ramallah.