Palestinians welcome foreign support of inquiry into reporter’s death

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Violence erupts as Israeli security forces assault Palestinian mourners carrying the casket of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images
Violence erupts as Israeli security forces assault Palestinian mourners carrying the casket of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images


The Palestinian Authority yesterday said it would welcome international support in the inquiry into the death of an Al Jazeera journalist, while Israel said it would investigate an eruption of violence at her funeral.

The killing of veteran reporter Shireen Abu Akleh sparked an outpouring of grief and anger, and Israeli police charged at a crowd of Palestinian mourners who were carrying her coffin through Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, drawing international condemnation.

The violence, which lasted only minutes, added to Palestinian outrage over Abu Akleh’s killing, which has threatened to fuel tension that has escalated since March.

Palestinian authorities have described the death of Abu Akleh, who was covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, as an assassination by Israeli forces.

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Israel initially suggested Palestinian gunfire might have been to blame, but officials have since said they could not rule out that it was Israeli gunfire that killed her.

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the killing and called for an “immediate, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation”.

Hussein al Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official, said on Twitter that the authority would welcome the participation of all international bodies in its inquiry.

The authority has rejected an offer from Israel, which has voiced regret over Abu Akleh’s death, to cooperate in the investigation.

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Israel’s police yesterday said they had tried “to facilitate a calm and dignified funeral ... and had coordinated the funeral arrangements with her family”.

It said:

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.

Findings from the investigation will be presented in coming days, it added.

At a hospital in Jerusalem yesterday, a Palestinian died of wounds sustained when Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound three weeks ago.

It was the first fatality stemming from clashes at the sensitive holy site in several years.


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