Jerusalem, May 13 (EFE).- Clashes between Israeli police and mourners attending the funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem erupted on Friday.
The killing of Akleh, who was shot in the head on Wednesday while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank, has sparked a new wave of anger in the region amid already heightened tensions following a spate of recent killings in Israel.
Thousands of people were gathered as the coffin carrying the body of the 51-year-old veteran Al-Jazeera journalist left Saint Joseph’s Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem at around 2pm local time at the start of the funeral procession to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in the Old City.
Israeli police charged against people carrying the coffin on their shoulders who were wrapped in the Palestinian flag, displays of which are banned in Israel. The eastern part of Jerusalem has been under Israeli control since it was annexed in 1980.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that it treated dozens of wounded in the vicinity of the hospital.
The Israeli police said they charged the crowd after being pelted with stones.
Shireen’s body arrived shortly afterwards in a van at Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, where she was transferred to the church where a mass with hundreds of attendees took place amid heavy security throughout the city.
There, police also clashed with several attendees for displaying Palestinian flags.
Akleh, 51, was killed Wednesday by a bullet to the head while reporting on a raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, a death that the Palestinian National Authority and the Arab League blame on Israel.
“We hold the Israeli occupation authorities totally responsible for her killing,” Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said. “This crime cannot go unpunished.”
Israel and the PNA are conducting two parallel investigations to determine who fired the bullet that killed her.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett initially blamed Palestinian militants for the shooting, although the government later said it was not possible to determine who had killed the journalist.
An autopsy on Friday did not shed light on who was responsible for her death.
Earlier on Friday, an Israeli army sergeant was killed and at least 13 Palestinians were injured during a raid by Israeli security forces in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin to arrest members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group.
“Israeli security forces bow their heads in memory of the late fighter Noam Raz, who fell this morning during a battle with armed terrorists who fired at our forces during an operation in the village of Burkin in the Jenin district,” the army said in a statement.
According to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Ministry of Health, 13 Palestinians were transferred to hospitals in Jenin for injuries sustained during the raid, including one in critical condition after being shot in the abdomen.