The Israel Police said on Friday that Arab rioters took the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh against the wishes of her family during Friday’s funeral, forcing the officers to intervene.
“Plans for the funeral procession of Shireen Abu-Akleh were coordinated in advance by the Israel Police together with the Abu-Akleh family,” the Israel Police Spokesperson said in an English-language statement.
“On Friday, about 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery – as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance. Instead, the mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession to the cemetery by foot.”
“This went against the wishes of the Abu-Akleh family and the security coordinations that had been planned to safeguard the large number of mourners. The Israel Police instructed that the coffin be returned to the hearse, as did the EU ambassador and Shireen Abu-Akleh's own family, but the mob refused.”
“Israeli Police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin, so that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family.”
“During the riot that was instigated by the mob, glass bottles and other objects were thrown, resulting in the injury of both mourners and Police officers,” the statement concluded.
Israel came under fire over the violence that broke out during the funeral. US President Joe Biden was asked whether he condemned Israeli security forces for the violence and replied, “I do not know all the details about what happened at the funeral of Shireen Abu Aqleh, but I know that an investigation must be opened.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier in the day described the footage from the funeral as “deeply disturbing”.
“We have all seen those images, they’re obviously deeply disturbing. We regret the intrusion of what should have been a peaceful procession,” she told reporters.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, tweeted, “Deeply distressed by the images from Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral procession. The tragedy of her killing should be handled with the utmost respect, sobriety, and care.”
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)