Joe Biden’s secretary of state has issued a statement condemning Israeli forces for their attack hours earlier on the funeral procession of a Palestinian American journalist who was shot and killed this week.
“We are deeply troubled by the images of Israeli police intruding into the funeral procession of Palestinian American Shireen Abu Aqleh,” Antony Blinken’s statement on his official Twitter account read. “Every family deserves to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner.”
Blinken’s brief statement came after television cameras captured police in Israel storming Abu Aqleh’s funeral procession, kicking and hitting mourners with batons, and knocking pallbearers so far off balance that they dropped her coffin to the ground.
The show of force came after people circumvented roadblocks in occupied East Jerusalem to join the slain Al Jazeera reporter’s funeral procession. Mourners chanted “Palestine!”, sang the Palestinian national anthem and waved Palestinian flags before Israeli police cracked down on the procession, accusing participants of disrupting public order.
Israel forbids the public display of Palestinian flags, even at rallies and protests.
Abu Aqleh died after being shot in the head in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday morning. Her colleagues have since said that she was killed in a burst of gunfire from Israeli forces on a small group of journalists covering an expected raid by Israel’s military.
The Israeli military issued condolences for Abu Aqleh’s death but has also maintained that its troops were returning fire at the scene and that the journalist may have actually been cut down by shots from Palestinian forces.
When she was killed, Abu Aqleh, 51, wore a helmet and body armor clearly marked “press”, according to video footage of her slaying.