Israeli Forces Beat Funeral Procession for Shireen Abu Akleh

Israeli Forces Beat Funeral Procession for Shireen Abu Akleh

Thousands of mourners, some hoisting Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine,” have attended the funeral in Jerusalem for veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen 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.

Police eventually 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.

Her body was then laid to rest in a cemetery outside the Old City in Jerusalem.

Thousands of mourners gathered at the cemetery, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine.”

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

Dekker, speaking from occupied 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.

Shireen Abu Akleh, an Aljazeera correspondent in the West Bank, was shot in the face and killed by Israeli soldiers while covering Israeli raids in the city of Jenin.Shireen Abu Akleh, an Aljazeera correspondent in the West Bank, was shot in the face and killed by Israeli soldiers while covering Israeli raids in the city of Jenin.On Thursday night, 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.”

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 coffin, near St Louis French Hospital, nearly making them drop the body.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan has reported 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,” he said.

“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.”

Palestinian human rights lawyer Diana Buttu has called Abu Akleh’s killing “a blow to the world”.

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