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Police claim officers intervened in funeral after ‘rioters’ seized reporter’s coffin

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Israeli police claimed Friday that officers intervened in the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem earlier in the day after “rioters” seized her coffin at the hospital, against her family’s wishes.

Officers charged Palestinians who were holding and surrounding the casket, and beat them with batons, nearly toppling the coffin. Images of the incident sparked global shock and condemnation.

“About 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse,” police said in a statement late Friday night.

Law enforcement had planned and coordinated the funeral procession with Abu Akleh’s family ahead of time, the English-language statement said.

“The mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession,” the statement said. “This went against the wishes of the Abu Akleh family and the security coordination.”

Police instructed the crowd to return the coffin to the hearse, “but the mob refused,” police said.

“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,” the statement said.

Over ten thousand Palestinians paid their respects to Abu Akleh — killed during a firefight early Wednesday between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin — during the long, tense funeral procession that wound across the city from the Sheikh Jarrah........

© The Times of Israel

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