There were disturbing scenes in the heart of the Middle East on Friday as thousands of Palestinians gathered in Jerusalem to pay their last respects., who was killed two days earlier as he covered an army raid in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera said Israel had warned Abu Aqleh’s brother to limit the size of the funeral procession, and told him that no Palestinian flags should be displayed and no slogans should be raised. The network said they dismissed the warning, which would have been difficult to heed given the grief and anger over the reporter’s murder.
Video clips broadcast on Al Jazeera – accusing Israeli soldiers of deliberately setting fire to Abu Aqleh – showed Israeli riot police pushing mourners outside a Jerusalem hospital and firing tear gas as People tried to move his coffin outside the hospital’s morgue on Friday.
At one point his coffin nearly fell to the ground in the midst of a scuffle. Projectiles could be seen flying in the air as Palestinians raised anti-Israel slogans.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweeted: “Deeply distressed by the images of the funeral procession of Shirin Abu Akleh. The tragedy of his assassination must be handled with the utmost respect, restraint and care.” A spokesman said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also “very upset by the conflicts,” reports CBS News’ Pamela Falk.
Israel increased security in Jerusalem ahead of the funeral, as Palestinian officials continued to support Al Jazeera’s allegation that Abu Akleh was assassinated by the Israeli army. The Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate with Israel in its investigation of his death, despite calls from both Israel and the US to do so.
A 51-year-old Palestinian-American journalist was killed with an apparent shot to the head as she covered the conflict at the West Bank’s sprawling Jenin refugee camp, despite wearing protective equipment, which clearly included her as a member of the press. was labeled.
While Israel’s leader initially claimed it was “likely” she came under fire from uncontrollable firing by Palestinian gunmen, the country’s military chiefThat it could be an Israeli soldier’s shot.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said late Wednesday that it could be “the Palestinians shot him,” or “the bullet from our side” – seemingly retracting Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks the previous day that Palestinians shot him. “Chance” was being blamed.
“We’re not sure how he was killed, but we want to get to the bottom of the incident and uncover as much truth as possible,” Gantz said on Wednesday.
Abu Akleh’s body was brought from the West Bank to Jerusalem for funeral on Friday. The funeral procession began in an East Jerusalem hospital, then paid for his body with his parents at a church in the old city before being buried in a nearby cemetery.
But as soon as Abu Akleh’s coffin was taken out of the gate of the hospital where Israeli security forces were gathered, violence broke out. The video showed them marching towards a funeral procession before grabbing and beating some mourners, including those carrying the coffin.
US Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, retweeted a BBC reporter’s video that showed Israeli forces beating mourners, calling it “horrifying to watch” and saying his staff was “terrible to see what happened.” We’re working to get answers about.”
Eventually the chaos subsided and the procession proceeded towards the church. His coffin was carried, followed by a large crowd to the cemetery, and there were no signs of further trouble on the way.
Israel’s military said on Friday that a preliminary investigation showed there had been an exchange of gunfire between security forces and Palestinians about 200 yards from where Abu Akleh was killed on Wednesday, but it was yet to be determined. Was unable to decide which side fired the fatal bullet.
In a statement, the military reiterated the Israeli government’s claim that Palestinian gunmen fired recklessly, including in an Israeli military vehicle where the journalist was killed.
The military said that without ballistic analysis of the round that killed Abu Akleh, it could not be determined who shot the journalist. Palestinian officials have denied Israeli officials access to the bullet that killed the Al Jazeera reporter.
CBS News’ Khalid Wassef contributed to this report.