Israel police to probe officers’ actions at journalist funeral

Family and friends carry the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, during her funeral in Jerusalem, May 13, 2022. ― Reuters pic
Family and friends carry the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, during her funeral in Jerusalem, May 13, 2022. ― Reuters pic

JERUSALEM, May 14 — Israel’s police chief has ordered an investigation into officers’ actions at a Palestinian journalist’s funeral in Jerusalem, the police force said Saturday, after an international outcry over the incident.

“The Israel Police Commissioner in coordination with the Minister of Public Security has instructed that an investigation be conducted into the incident,” the police said in a statement.

The United States and the European Union led criticism of the Israeli police’s actions, after television footage showed officers charging the funeral procession on Friday of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beat mourners.

The 51-year-old, a highly respected veteran of the Qatar-based news channel’s Arabic service, was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.

The coffin containing her body nearly fell to the ground after Israeli police intervened as the Palestinian mourners carried her casket from a hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on Friday.

In its statement, the police force said it had been prepared “to facilitate a calm and dignified funeral… and had coordinated the funeral arrangements with her family.

“Unfortunately, hundreds of rioters tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police.

“As with any operational incident, and certainly an incident in which police officers were exposed to violence by rioters and in which force was subsequently used by the police, the Israel Police will be looking into the events that ensued during the funeral.

“The Israel Police supports its police officers, but as a professional organisation that seeks to learn and improve, it will also draw lessons from the incident.”

It said the findings of the investigation would be presented to the commissioner in the coming days. — AFP