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Israeli police beat mourners with batons during funeral procession for veteran journalist

Hundreds of people gathered ahead of the funeral on Friday outside St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem, where Abu Akleh’s body remained until burial. Muslims performed Friday prayers and mourners chanted “walk, walk on foot”, demanding that Abu Akleh’s coffin be carried and carried on foot from the hospital to the Greek Orthodox Church, where a service will be held, then at the burial site.

Israeli police were lined up outside the hospital, according to CNN reporters. Police roadblocks were set up near the hospital.

Mourners carried Abu Akleh’s coffin out of the hospital, but encountered strong resistance from Israeli police who forced them to transport the body by car. A flash bomb and tear gas were fired, according to CNN reporters.

Live footage from Al Jazeera showed Israeli police beating mourners with batons as they struggled to carry Abu Akleh’s coffin. The body was in turn brought back inside the hospital and then transported by car, Al Jazeera said.

The 51-year-old Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist was a leading voice in the Arab world, delivering what many have called “the voice of Palestinian suffering” and their “aspirations for freedom”.

The circumstances of his death remain unclear. The Palestinian Authority on Thursday rejected Israel’s offer for a joint investigation, insisting on an independent process and promising to try those accused of its murder before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh told Al Jazeera on Thursday that the results of their investigation will be released soon and will include the autopsy report.

Israel says it is investigating Abu Akleh’s death. Asked by CNN how she was killed, IDF international spokesman Amnon Shefler said Thursday “we just don’t know yet” who shot her.

Israeli military investigators have confiscated the weapons of some IDF soldiers as part of their investigation, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing an unnamed IDF official. The weapons were taken so they could be made available for ballistic testing, the official said.

Givara Al-Buderi, another Al Jazeera correspondent and close personal friend of Abu Akleh, said she saw the bullet entry wound just above her right eyebrow and the doctor told her that part of the bullet remained lodged in Abu Akleh’s skull.

Al-Buderi was called by doctors to help remove Abu Akleh’s clothes and change her for the funeral.

“We took her clothes off and had to put a white dress on her,” Al-Buderi told CNN. “I tried to put my hand behind his head, but there was nothing.

“I felt around but there was nothing, nothing more.”

With contributions from Nadeen Ebrahim, Mostafa Salem and Celine Alkhaldi in Abu Dhabi.

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