TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel’s police chief has ordered an investigation into officers’ use of force toward Palestinians who were gathering at the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Officers had charged at pallbearers, beating them with batons and causing the casket to nearly drop to the ground on Friday. Police have said they were trying to prevent crowds from carrying the coffin and had arranged with Abu Akleh’s family to deliver it to the cemetery in a hearse.
In a statement, police said “hundreds of rioters tried to sabotage” the funeral ceremony and harm officers, but that the police commissioner has ordered an investigation and findings will be presented in the coming days.
Abu Akleh was killed this week while covering an Israeli arrest raid in a Palestinian refugee camp. There’s a dispute over whether Israeli soldiers or Palestinian gunmen shot her.
The 51-year-old was a well-known journalist in the Arabic-speaking world, spending decades covering conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis — including the Second Intifada of the early 2000s.
Since her death, Abu Akleh has become a symbol of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank. Her funeral drew thousands of mourners.