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Shireen Abu Akleh, the Al-Jazeera journalist shot in the head on Wednesday during an Israeli military operation in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, is to be buried Friday in Jerusalem after a funeral in a church. His death caused great shock across the world.
The funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shot dead Wednesday in Jenin during an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank, is to be held Friday, May 13 in a church in Jerusalem.
The body of this figure of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera has been transferred to Jerusalem, where his funeral will take place in a church. Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Christian born in East Jerusalem, is to be buried the same day next to her parents in a cemetery near the Old City.
Several thousand Palestinians paid their respects on Thursday. Palestinian officials, foreign diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians took part in the official ceremony in Ramallah, at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank, where the journalist’s coffin wrapped in the Palestinian flag was carried.
Shireen Abu Akleh was wearing a “press” bulletproof vest and a news helmet in Jenin, a city in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel for more than 50 years, when she was shot in the head.
The announcement of his death has aroused great emotion in the Palestinian Territories and in the Arab world where his reporting has been followed for more than two decades, as well as in Europe and the United States. Several spontaneous rallies took place in the Palestinian Territories to protest against his death and a street in Ramallah will be renamed in his name.
The Israeli army has launched several operations in recent weeks in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions in the northern West Bank from which the perpetrators of deadly attacks in Israel originated.
The origin of the fatal bullet has given rise to various claims. Al-Jazeera accused Israeli forces of “deliberately” and “cold-blooded” killing of its star journalist. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for his part suggested that she had “probably” succumbed to a shooting by Palestinian fighters.
But a few hours later, her defense minister Benny Gantz said the army “was not sure how she was killed”. “It may have been a Palestinian who shot her (…) The shot may also have come from our side, we are investigating”. “We need forensic evidence” from the Palestinians, including the bullet that killed the journalist, in order to carry out a “full” investigation, added Benny Gantz.
Divergences on the investigation
Israel demanded the bullet from the Palestinians so that “a scientific investigation to trace the origin of the shot” could be carried out, an Israeli security source told AFP. The Jewish state has also offered Palestinian and American officials “to be present” during the examination, according to the same source.
The Palestinian Authority chaired by Mahmoud Abbas has for its part rejected the idea of a joint investigation with Israel, accusing the Israeli army of having killed it. “We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for his death,” he said during Thursday’s ceremony, explaining his refusal of a joint investigation by saying that “the Israeli authorities committed this crime and we don’t trust them.” He said he wanted to go to the International Criminal Court.
“The investigation must be completely independent,” said Hussein al-Sheikh, a tenor from the Palestinian Authority, promising to make the results public “with great transparency”.
“Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority prevents at this stage any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to the elementary conclusions which are necessary to reach the truth”, estimated for his part Naftali Bennett.
Visiting Tehran on Thursday, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani accused Israel of killing the journalist. “The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held accountable,” he said.