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Israeli riot police attack Palestinian mourners as they carry Shireen Abu Akleh's casket to her funeral

ISRAELI riot police attacked Palestinian mourners in occupied East Jerusalem today as they carried the casket of the Al Jazeera journalist killed by Israeli snipers earlier this week.

Thousands gathered in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City in the morning to attend the final part of the three-day memorial for Shireen Abu Akleh.

The Palestinian journalist was shot in the head while she and her colleagues were covering an Israeli raid on a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin on Wednesday.

Mourners intended to carry Ms Abu Akleh’s coffin from St Louis French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood to the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin, but were soon set upon by riot police.

Footage of the encounter shows Israeli cops swinging batons at the mourners as they try desperately to move the casket away from them. Others swing Palestinian flags at the cops.

The occupiers relented after Ms Abu Akleh’s coffin was put in a hearse. Her body was driven to the cathedral, where her friends and family were waiting as thousands more waited outside.

She was buried in the Mount Zion Protestant cemetery next to her parents.

Ms Abu Akleh’s niece, Lina, told Al Jazeera today that Israel was still trying to silence” her auntie.

“Even a funeral in our country doesn’t go peacefully,” she said.

“Sadly there were multiple Israeli checkpoints on the way to the hospital prohibiting cars from reaching the hospital, also they are limiting the number of cars that can reach Jaffa Gate next to the church.”

“This goes to show that even though they silenced her by assassinating her, they are still trying to silence and stop the people from being with us, and bringing their love and support to her, and honouring her legacy during this horrible tragedy.”

Fellow Al Jazeera journalist Shaza Abed, who witnessed Ms Abu Akleh’s killing, said in an interview with the Qatari news organisation on Thursday that Palestinian journalists will not stop.

“Shireen was a school,” Ms Abed said of her late colleague and mentor.

“We’ve learnt so much from her. Since I was a child in first grade, my father and grandfather wuld sit me down and ask me: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And I would answer: ‘a journalists,’ imitating Shireen Abu Akleh.

“This is the most powerful message in my opinion: ‘You have killed our colleague, teacher, and sister, be we continue reporting. We continue delivering the message of [the Palestinian] people living under [Israeli] occupation.’

“We will continue reporting on the violations of this occupation and its crimes against us.”

At least 45 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Information.


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