Israeli police clash with slain journalist’s mourners
Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, died Wednesday after being shot in the head while on assignment in the West Bank. On Friday, thousands of people, mostly Palestinian, gathered in Jerusalem for her funeral. Pallbearers began to carry the coffin of Abu Akleh, who was a Christian, through the streets to a church and burial service. Mourners waved Palestinian flags and called her death a murder. Then Israeli riot police moved in and clubbed the mourners and pallbearers with batons, causing them nearly to drop the casket. They also fired stun grenades to disperse the crowds.
Why did they intervene? Police said the gathering constituted nationalist incitement and attendees had thrown rocks at them. Israel rarely allows Palestinian gatherings in East Jerusalem other than prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Police escorted Abu Akleh’s casket to a black hearse, and video showed one of them tearing Palestinian flags off the vehicle. The event is believed to be the largest Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem since a leader’s death in 2001. The Palestinian Authority has accused Israeli forces of targeting Abu Akleh, a claim the Israeli government denies.
Dig deeper: Read my report in the Sift about how Abu Akleh died.
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