Israeli forces attack Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral in Jerusalem, beat mourners

A screengrab of the video showing funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh as Israeli forces beat mourners in Old City of East Jerusalem, Palestine.

Israeli forces on Friday beat the mourners carrying the coffin of Shireen Abu Akleh ahead of a funeral in the Old City of East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reported.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered for the funeral service before Abu Akleh was taken to the Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery, where she was scheduled to be buried alongside her late parents.

Abu Akleh’s body was brought from Jenin, where she was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday, to Jerusalem via Nablus and Ramallah, in a procession where Palestinians paid their respects, the report said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he would take Abu Akleh’s case to the International Criminal Court in an effort to get justice for the veteran reporter, who joined Al Jazeera in 1997, and was an icon in Palestine and the wider Arab world.

Meanwhile, Somali journalists held protests to condemn the killing of Abu Akleh. Journalists including representatives from the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) demonstrated at the Maka al-Mukarama street in the capital Mogadishu.

Thousands of mourners march from the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin to the cemetery for the burial, the report said.

Israeli actions surrounding Abu Akleh’s funeral are “highlighting the occupation”, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker said, as per the report.

Dekker, speaking from East Jerusalem, noted that police had entered Abu Akleh’s home on the day she was killed, removed a Palestinian flag and told mourners to turn off patriotic music.

On Thursday night, the Al Jazeera report said that Abu Akleh’s brother was summoned by Israeli authorities and told to instruct mourners not to carry Palestinian flags or to recite Palestinian chants.

“No showing of Palestinian unity, no showing of Palestinian identity,” Dekker said. “I think this is what it’s really about.”

The report added that family, friends and mourners, some who had never met her personally, gathered at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin for Abu Akleh’s funeral. Bells rang out as a procession walked from the church to Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery, where Abu Akleh would be buried.

Earlier, Israeli forces beat mourners, including those carrying Abu Akleh’s casket, near St Louis French Hospital, nearly forcing them to drop the body.

Al Jazeera reported said that Israeli forces have arrested at least four mourners, including at least two men for raising the Palestinian flag in occupied East Jerusalem.

“Two men were arrested for actually raising the Palestinian flag. That’s actually illegal under Israeli law,” the report quoted him as saying.

“Now when Shireen’s car carrying the casket actually came in, there was a Palestinian flag on display in the back of the car. The Israeli police actually smashed that window in and took the flag.”


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