Shireen Abu Akleh: Thousands mourn murdered journalist as Palestinians demand accountability

Journalists, diplomats, religious leaders and officials, including Arab members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, attended the memorial procession at the residence of the Palestinian Authority president, where Abu Akleh’s Palestinian-flagged coffin was carried while honor guards carried musical instruments played. Crowds gathered on the street outside the residence were heard chanting ‘the honest voice never dies’ and ‘we sacrifice our blood and spirit for you, Shireen’.

The commemoration was attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who in a speech at the event rejected Israel’s offer for a joint investigation into the Abu Akleh assassination and promised to take the case to the ICC.

“We have rejected and continue to reject the joint investigation with the Israeli occupation authorities because they committed the crime and we do not trust them,” said Abbas, standing in front of Abu Akleh’s coffin. “We will immediately go to the International Criminal Court to track down the killers.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh said the government will share the findings of the investigation with the United States, Qatar and the ICC, adding that it will be completed “soon” and include an autopsy report.

The Palestinian-American was shot dead on Wednesday as he reported on Israeli military raids on the West Bank city of Jenin. Akleh’s producer, Ali Al-Samudi, was also shot and is in stable condition, the Palestinian health ministry said.

After the procession, Abu Akleh’s body was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in East Jerusalem, where journalists and friends stood outside crying as they hugged. A crowd of supporters gathered outside the hospital, roses in hand and chanting “God rest your soul, Shireen.”

Palestinians lay flowers at the site of Abu Akleh's assassination in Jenin.

When the ambulance with Abu Akleh drove in, dozens of people gathered to carry her coffin to the hospital, swathed in roses and the Palestinian flag.

Mourners also laid flowers in front of Abu Akleh’s home in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood.

“Shireen is my daughter, her parents have passed away, but we are all her parents,” said Nafisa Khwais, 63, who was at Abu Akleh’s home, “we are all her family.”

“Silencing her will never stop us from resisting and telling our story,” Khwais added.

Al Jazeera has accused Israeli security forces of deliberately attacking and killing Abu Akleh, 51, one of the Arab world’s most prominent journalists. Her death was met with regional and international outrage and calls for accountability.

Palestinians take part in a demonstration after Abu Akleh's death.

The circumstances surrounding her death are unclear. Three eyewitnesses told CNN that the journalists were shot by Israeli forces and that there were no Palestinian militants besides the journalists at the time.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday proposed a joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation into the death.

Shireen Abu Akleh, journalist murdered in the West Bank, was

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its forces came under heavy fire during the counter-terrorism operation and that they fired back.

International IDF spokesman Amnon Shefler told CNN late on Wednesday that Israelis “just don’t know yet” who killed Abu Akhleh, in what appeared to be a softening of previous statements by Israeli officials who said she was “probably” shot by crossfire. of Palestinian militants.

Her employer, Al Jazeera, called her death “a blatant murder” by Israeli forces.

Abu Akleh’s funeral will take place Friday at the Roman Catholic Church in Bab Al-Khalil, before she is buried in Jerusalem’s Mount Zion cemetery next to her parents.

CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi, Nadeen Ebrahim and Mostafa Salem in Abu Dhabi contributed to this report.

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