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After outcry, Israel police ordered to probe actions at journalist’s funeral rite

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The late Al Jazeera TV journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while reporting from Jerusalem on June 12, 2021. HANDOUT/AFP

After outcry, Israel police ordered to probe actions at journalist’s funeral rite

Israeli's police chief on Saturday ordered an investigation into the actions of officers at the funeral of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, after they charged the procession and beat pallbearers, sparking global outrage.

Thousands of mourners packed Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday for the burial of the 51-year-old Al Jazeera reporter. The Palestinian-American was killed two days earlier during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

Television footage showed pallbearers struggling to stop Abu Akleh’s casket from falling to the ground as baton-wielding police descended upon them, grabbing Palestinian flags.

“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.

They had coordinated funeral arrangements with the journalist’s family but “rioters tried to sabotage the ceremony and harm the police,” it said.

“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,” it added.

But Antoun Abu Akleh, the slain journalist’s brother, said “there was no agreement between us and the police,” who had asked the family how many people were expected to attend the funeral.

“We gave them the number of participants and the path of the funeral and this is what happened,” he told AFP.

“We told the police that this is a national funeral and not a funeral for the Abu Akleh family, but a funeral for all the Palestinian people.”

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