After the violent funeral of a reporter who was killed in Jerusalem, the Israeli police have announced an investigation. Videos showed how security forces used batons against mourners and the coffin bearers.
The images sparked international outrage. The police will learn lessons from the incident, it said in a statement on Saturday. Hundreds of violent participants tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm police officers.
Al-Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akle was killed by gunfire during an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. According to the army, there was a fierce firefight with dozens of Palestinian militants during a raid in Jenin.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused the Israeli army of deliberately killing the 51-year-old, who is well-known in the Arab world. On Friday, the Palestinian Attorney General’s Office said that only Israeli troops fired at the moment the journalist was hit.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was shocked by the violence at the funeral in Jerusalem. It is sad that the funeral service could not take place in peace and with dignity. To be honest, personally, I’m deeply shocked by this,” said Baerbock on Saturday in response to a reporter’s question at a press conference at the end of a G7 meeting near Weißenhäuser Strand on the Baltic Sea.
Minister Baerbock went on to say that democracies “rely on courageous journalists being able to report the truth – and to do so safely”. They should “never be the target of violence in order to be able to do their important work”. It is important to her that the death of the journalist is clarified transparently.
Israel’s army released interim results of its investigation, according to which it is currently not possible to say “unambiguously” where the fatal shot came from.
The UN Security Council also called for the case to be reviewed. “The members of the Security Council called for an immediate, thorough, transparent, fair and impartial investigation into their killing and stressed the need for accountability,” the most powerful UN body said in a statement. In addition, the 15 council members condemned the death of the US-Palestinian Shirin Abu Akle “in the strongest possible terms” and expressed their condolences to her relatives.
A dpa reporter reported on the funeral on Friday that there was no warning before the police pushed back the mourners and pallbearers and then attacked them with batons. The mourners then threw empty bottles, and the police responded with stun grenades. The police said on Friday that participants in the funeral procession had thrown stones at police officers.
The incident happened when several people were carrying the dead journalist’s coffin on their shoulders out of the hospital. The procession then made its way to the cemetery. The coffin was carried in a car instead. Thousands of people attended the funeral in a Christian Orthodox cemetery near the old town.