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Israeli police beat mourners at a slain Al Jazeera journalist’s funeral

Israeli police beat mourners at a slain Al Jazeera journalist’s funeral

israel police, Al Jazeera journalist's funeral
Photo: Twitter

Israeli police on Friday moved in on a crowd of mourners at the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, beating demonstrators with batons and causing pallbearers to briefly drop the casket.

The crackdown came during a rare show 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 internationally recognized. Israel routinely clamps down on any displays of support for Palestinian statehood.

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Thousands of mourners, some hoisting Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine,” attended the funeral for Abu Akleh, who witnesses say was shot and killed by Israeli forces earlier this week while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank.

“We die for Palestine to live,” the crowd chanted. “Our beloved home.” Later, they sang the Palestinian national anthem.

Ahead of the service, dozens of mourners tried to march with the casket on foot out of a hospital to a Catholic church in the nearby Old City.

Police said the crowd at the hospital was chanting “nationalist incitement,” ignored calls to stop, and threw stones at police. “The policemen were forced to act,” police said.

An outpouring of grief for a respected correspondent

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said its initial investigation into Abu Akleh’s death showed that a heavy firefight was underway in the West Bank town of Jenin around 200 meters from where she was killed, but that it was unable to determine whether she was shot by Israeli forces or Palestinian militants.

Israel announced that an Israeli policeman was killed in new fighting in Jenin on Friday.

Recent days have seen an outpouring of grief from across the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world. Abu Akleh was a widely respected on-air correspondent who spent a quarter-century covering the harsh realities of life under Israeli military rule, which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight

After the heated scene outside the hospital, police allowed the family to drive the casket to a Catholic church in the Old City, which was packed with mourners, before sealing off the hospital and firing tear gas at scores of protesters.

After the service, thousands headed to the cemetery, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine.”

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