Jerusalem.- The Israeli police attacked a crowd of mourners at the journalist’s funeral on Friday of Al Jazeera Shireen Abu Akleh, beat protesters with batons and caused the pallbearers to briefly throw the coffin.
The crackdown came during a rare display of Palestinian nationalism in East Jerusalem, the part of the holy city that Israel captured in 1967 and that the Palestinians claim as their capital.
Israel says east Jerusalem is part of its capital and has annexed the area in a move that is not recognized internationally. Israel routinely clamps down against any show of support for the Palestinian state.
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Thousands of mourners, some waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine,” attended the funeral of Abu Akleh, who witnesses say was shot dead by Israeli forces earlier this week while covering a military incursion into the occupied West Bank.
“We die for Palestine to live” the crowd sang. “Our beloved home.” Later, they sang the Palestinian national anthem.
Before the service, dozens of mourners attempted to march the coffin on foot from a hospital to a Catholic church in nearby Old Town.
Police said the crowd at the hospital shouted “nationalist incitement”, ignored calls to stop and threw stones at police. “The police were forced to act”police said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said its initial investigation into Abu Akleh’s death showed that heavy gunfire was taking place in the West Bank city of Jenin, some 200 meters (yards) from where he died, but it was unable to determine if you were shot. by Israeli forces or Palestinian militants.
Israel announced that an Israeli policeman was killed in further fighting in Jenin on Friday.
Recent days have seen an outpouring of pain in the Palestinian territories and the Arab world in general. Abu Akleh was a highly respected live correspondent who spent a quarter of a century covering the harsh realities of life under Israeli military rule, which is in its sixth decade with no end in sight.
After the heated scene outside the hospital, police allowed the family to carry the coffin to a Catholic church in the Old City, which was packed with mourners, before closing the hospital and firing tear gas at dozens of protesters.
after service, thousands headed to the cemetery waving Palestinian flags and singing “Palestine, Palestine”.
Several hours later, she was buried in a cemetery outside the Old City.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera had earlier said that its managing director, Ahmad Alyafei, would travel to Jerusalem to attend the funeral.
Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority and for it to hand over the bullet for a forensic analysis to determine who fired the fatal round. The Palestinian Authority has refused, saying it will conduct its own investigation and send the results to the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating possible Israeli war crimes.
In a statement issued Friday, the army said Palestinian gunmen recklessly fired hundreds of rounds at an Israeli military vehicle, some in the direction of where Abu Akleh was standing. He said that the Israeli forces returned fire and that without doing a ballistic analysis they cannot determine who was responsible for his death.
“The conclusion of the provisional investigation is that it is not possible to determine the source of the fire that reached and killed the reporter,” the army said.
The reporters who were with Abu Akleh, including one who was shotThey said there was no fighting or militants in the immediate area when she was killed Wednesday morning. They all wore protective gear that clearly identified them as reporters.
Either party is likely to cast doubt on any conclusion reached by the other, and there does not appear to be any possibility of an independent investigation by a third party.
The Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately killing Abu Akleh within hours of his death. Israel says a full investigation is needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Rights groups say Israel rarely pursues investigations into the killing of Palestinians by its security forces, handing out lenient punishments on the rare occasions it does. This case, however, is coming under intense scrutiny because Abu Akleh was a well-known figure and also a US citizen.
Abu Akleh, 51, joined Al Jazeera’s Arabic service in 1997 and rose to fame covering the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising against Israeli rule, in the early 2000s.
He was shot in the head early Wednesday while covering an Israeli arrest raid in Jenin. Palestinians in and around Jenin have carried out a series of deadly attacks inside Israel in recent weeks, and Israel has launched near-daily arrest raids in the area, often sparking shootouts with militants.
Israeli troops entered Jenin again on Friday morning. An Associated Press photographer heard loud gunshots and explosions and said Israeli troops had surrounded a house.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were hospitalized after being injured in the fighting, including one who was shot in the stomach. The Israeli army tweeted that the Palestinians opened fire as its forces entered to arrest suspected militants. Police said a 47-year-old Israeli special commando unit member was killed.
Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want both territories as part of their future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and regards the entire city as its capital.
The police went to the house of Abu Akleh’s family in Jerusalem the day she was murdered and showed up at other mourning events in the city to remove Palestinian flags.
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Israeli police attack at funeral of slain Palestinian journalist