Israeli forces on Friday attacked the funeral procession of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Alekh, who was killed while reporting a military raid in Jenin by the Israeli army on Wednesday.
Shireen, an established senior Palestinian journalist who worked with Al-Jazeera, was reporting a military raid on the West Bank, in the region of Jenin.
According to her colleague who was with her at the time, the seven journalists reporting the raid were all wearing clearly marked Press security vests, and had passed by the Israeli troops to alert them of their presence. He also said there were no civillians in the area, just the military and the seven reporters.
Her coffin was being transported from St. Joseph’s hospital today (Friday) in Jerusalem to the Greek Orthodox Church. The coffin had been decked in flowers and adorned with the flag of Palestine, and a crowd of funeral goers had amassed outside the hospital.
As the funeral procession headed towards the church, Israeli forces stormed the premises and began attacking the marchers with batons and stun guns. They tore down the flags from Shireen’s coffin, and videos of the incident show the coffin almost falling to the ground.
According to statements issued by the Israeli police, the attack was in response to an attempt by the funeral marchers to ‘disrupt public order’. They claimed that Palestinians has started throwing stones at the Israeli police officers from the windows of the St. Joseph Hospital.
They also released a video of an Israeli police officer announcing to the crowd, “If you don’t stop these chants and [Palestinian] nationalistic songs we will have to disperse you using force and we won’t let the funeral take place.”
The public display of Palestinian flags is forbidden in Israel, and there are often raids and police brutality at events where the flag has been hoisted, such as rallies, marches and protest.