UPDATE: Police deny attacking funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh

UPDATE: Police deny attacking funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu AqlehImage: @Ali__Shoaib/ Twitter

ISRAELI police have denied attacking funeral guests of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh, stating they were protecting the service.

UPDATE 2.16 pm (May 14) – After Israeli police were accused of attacking guests at the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh, who was killed on Wednesday, May 11 near the entrance to Jenin refugee camp, they were forced to release a statement stating the incident.

A lengthy statement from the police that they tried ‘to stop the mob from stealing the coffin’ at Aqleh’s funeral on Friday, May 13.

“Plans for the funeral procession of Shireen Abu-Akleh were coordinated in advance by the Israel Police together with the Abu-Akleh family,’ the police statement explained.

“On Friday, about 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance. Instead, the mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession to the cemetery by foot.

“This went against the wishes of the Abu-Akleh family and the security coordinations that had been planned to safeguard the large number of mourners. 

“The Israel Police instructed that the coffin be returned to the hearse, as did the EU ambassador and Shireen Abu-Akleh’s own family, but the mob refused,” a spokesman explained. 

“Israeli Police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin, so that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family.

“During the riot that was instigated by the mob, glass bottles and other objects were thrown, resulting in the, injury of both mourners and Police officers.”

Earlier, top officials condemned the killing of the journalist and spoke out against the police’s involvement in the funeral.


UPDATE 3.13 am (May 14) – The UN Security Council has today (Saturday, May 14) condemned the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh hours after her funeral was attacked by Israeli forces.

Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday, May 11 near the entrance to Jenin refugee camp, while reporting on an arrest operation conducted by the Israeli forces. Abu Akleh and other journalists present in the area wore protective gear clearly identifying them as media workers.

UN human rights experts condemned the journalist’s killing in the occupied West Bank and called for a prompt, transparent, thorough and independent investigation into her death.

The experts said Abu Akleh’s killing is part of a continuation of the high rate of attacks against media workers, particularly Palestinian journalists.

More than 40 Palestinian journalists have reportedly been killed since 2000, with hundreds injured or targeted for violence. Women Palestinian journalists also regularly experience violence in the course of their work just for being journalists.

“The killing of Abu Akleh is another serious attack on media freedom and freedom of expression, amid the escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank,” said the experts.

“We demand a prompt, independent, impartial, effective, thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, in full compliance with the Revised United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death).

“We urge the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and other stakeholders to cooperate with such an investigation.”

“Authorities have an obligation not to harm journalists and to protect them from harm under international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” said the experts. “The killing of Abu Akleh, who was clearly performing her duties as a journalist, may constitute a war crime.”

Her funeral, held on Friday, May 13, was attended by hundreds of mourning but was violently interrupted by Israeli police.

“The European Union is appalled by the scenes unfolding on Friday during the funeral procession of the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in occupied East Jerusalem,” a statement read.

“The EU  condemns the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behaviour by the Israeli police against the participants of the mourning procession. 

“Allowing for a peaceful farewell and letting mourners grieve in peace without harassment and humiliation, is the minimal human respect.

“The EU reiterates its call for a thorough and independent investigation that clarifies all the circumstances of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death that brings those responsible for her killing to justice.”

US Senator Bernie Sanders reacted to the scenes at Shereen Abu Aqleh’s funeral.

“The attack by Israeli forces against mourners at the funeral of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is an outrage,” he tweeted.

“The United States must condemn this, and demand an independent investigation into her killing.”

The 71st US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said: “We were deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Akleh.

“Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”


ORIGINAL 9.47 am (May 11) – Tributes have flooded social media following reports that Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh was killed in the Palestinian city of Jenin while covering a raid by Israeli security forces.

The 51-year-old was in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin when she was shot “deliberately” and “in cold blood” by Israeli troops, as reported by the Qatar-based news channel.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: “We have offered the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqla.

“Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth,” he said.

A statement from the State of Qatar said that they strongly condemn the killing of the Al Jazeera journalist and consider it a heinous crime.

“The State of Qatar condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of the Israeli occupation forces, Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Aqleh, near Jenin camp, and the injury of journalist Ali Al-Samoudi, Al-Jazeera’s producer, and considers them a heinous crime and a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and a blatant attack on freedom of media and expression and the right of peoples to obtain information,” the statement read.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the international community to take urgent action to prevent the occupation authorities from committing further violations of freedom of expression and information and to take all measures to stop violence against Palestinians and media workers, and the need to protect them.

“The ministry recalls that international humanitarian law considers journalists, media professionals and individuals who carry out dangerous professional tasks in areas of armed conflict in general to be civilians, and they should be respected and protected and stresses the need to hold the occupation accountable for this horrific crime and bring those responsible to international justice,” it continued.

It added: “The Ministry expresses the condolences of the State of Qatar to the families of the media personality, Sherine Abu Aqleh, and wishes the journalist Ali Al Samoudi a speedy recovery.”

Following the incident, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah al-Khater said the “state-sponsored Israeli terrorism must stop.”

“Israeli occupation killed Aljazeera journalist Sherine Abu Aqleh by shooting her in the face while wearing the Press vest and a helmet,” she said.

“She was covering their attack in Jenin refugee camp. This state-sponsored Israeli terrorism must STOP, unconditional support to Israel must END.”

 

Sadly, Shereen Abu Aqleh is not the only journalist to have lost their life in warring countries in recent weeks.

Ukrainian journalist Oleksandr (Alexander) Makhov was killed by Russian forces in the Kharkiv region on Wednesday, May 4.

And while not at war, the death of two journalists in Mexico, who were both shot, has increased the number of reporters killed in the country this year to 11.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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