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  • Palestinians honor slain journalist, reject joint probe

Palestinians honor slain journalist, reject joint probe

Palestinian friends and colleagues of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh cry and comfort each other during Thursday’s official ceremony in Ramallah. (AP)
Palestinian friends and colleagues of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh cry and comfort each other during Thursday’s official ceremony in Ramallah. (AP)
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13 May 2022 12:05:46 GMT9
13 May 2022 12:05:46 GMT9
  • The US, EU and the UN have backed calls for a full investigation into what Al Jazeera labeled a deliberate killing “in cold blood”

RAMALLAH: Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday honored Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at a memorial service in the occupied West Bank, a day after she was shot dead during an Israeli army raid.

Israel and the Palestinians have traded blame over the killing of Palestinian-American Abu Akleh, 51, a veteran of the network’s Arabic service, during clashes in the Jenin refugee camp.

The US, EU and the UN have backed calls for a full investigation into what Al Jazeera labeled a deliberate killing “in cold blood,” but the Palestinian Authority has rejected holding a joint probe with Israel.

In a sign of Abu Akleh’s stature among Palestinians, she received what was described as a full state memorial at the Ramallah compound of President Mahmoud Abbas, attended by foreign diplomats, prominent Arab Israeli politicians, and senior Palestinian leaders.

Thousands lined the streets as her coffin, draped in the Palestinian flag, was driven through the West Bank city.

Many held flowers, wreaths and pictures of Abu Akleh, who has been widely hailed for her bravery and professionalism and was well known to Arabic audiences since she covered the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, from 2000 to 2005.

“This crime should not go unpunished,” said Abbas.

He stressed that the PA held Israel “completely responsible” for her death, and had “refused and rejected” an Israeli proposal for a joint investigation.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had said on Wednesday it was “likely” Abu Akleh was killed by stray Palestinian gunfire — but Defense Minister Benny Gantz later conceded that it could have been “the Palestinians who shot her” or fire from “our side.”

“We are not certain how she was killed,” Gantz said. “We are investigating.”

Draped in a Palestinian scarf under the late morning sun, Tariq Ahmed, 45, described the death as a “tragedy for all the nation,” comparing his grief to that he felt at the funeral of iconic Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

“I have not felt this pain since Arafat died,” Ahmed said.

As Abu Akleh’s coffin was taken out of the presidential compound to the drumbeat of a marching band, crowds chanted slogans demanding and end to Palestinian security cooperation with Israel.

Men ran alongside the ambulance as it drove to the checkpoint barrier between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

AFP

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