Israeli police beat mourners at Palestinian journalist's funeral

STORY: Israeli police officers charged at Palestinian mourners carrying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Friday, before thousands led her casket through Jerusalem's Old City in an outpouring of grief and anger over her killing.

Packed around Abu Akleh's coffin, dozens of Palestinians began walking toward the gates of St. Joseph's Hospital.

Israeli police officers, in an apparent bid to stop them proceeding by foot rather than taking the coffin by car, burst through the courtyard gates and charged at the crowd, some beating pallbearers with batons and kicking them.

Officers backed the group carrying the coffin up against a wall. The casket was nearly dropped, but recovered before hitting the ground as stun grenades detonated.

Israeli police said a group of Palestinains outside the hospital had thrown rocks and they were "forced to act." There was no immediate comment from Palestinian authorities.

The violent scenes underlined the growing anger over Abu Akleh's killing which has threatened to add further fuel to an already raging conflict.

Abu Akleh, who had covered Palestinian affairs and the Middle East for over two decades, was shot while reporting on an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. Video footage from the moments after she was shot showed her wearing a blue vest marked "Press."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking at a memorial ceremony on Thursday, said that Israel is to blame for Abu Akleh’s death.

"We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for her killing, and it will not be able to conceal the truth with this crime. This crime shall not pass without penalty.”

Israel's government initially suggested Palestinian fire is responsible, but could not rule out it was Israeli gunfire that killed her. At least two of Abu Akleh's colleagues who were with her said that they had come under Israeli sniper fire.

Israel has proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinians. The Palestinians have rejected the request, and have called for an international investigation.

A few minutes after Friday's violence, Abu Akleh's coffin was placed in a vehicle that headed toward Jerusalem's Walled Old City.

Mourners carried Abu Akleh's coffin into the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin, where the ceremony proceeded peacefully.

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