Palestinians and police officers clashed fiercely in East Jerusalem on Monday night during the funeral procession of a Palestinian man who died after being critically wounded during clashes on the Temple Mount last month.
Six officers were lightly injured by stones hurled at them by hundreds of rioters at a cemetery near Jerusalem’s Old City. Two of the officers were taken to a nearby hospital for further medical treatment, police said.
Footage showed rocks raining on the officers at several locations throughout the funeral procession. Other clips showed fireworks being set off in the direction of police, who responded with riot dispersal measures. Palestinians were “hurling stones, bottles, bricks and other heavy objects, as well as firing fireworks at the forces,” police said.
The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 71 Palestinians were wounded from rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings. Thirteen people required hospitalization, including two with eye injuries, it said.
Police said officers arrested 15 people, though Palestinian media put the figure at 50.
Police said the rioting took place both during the procession and at the gravesite, as well on Salah a-Din street. Palestinians also damaged several vehicles during the clashes and struck a number of passers-by, according to police.
Toward the beginning of the funeral, a car accelerated toward Border Police officers securing the procession, Israeli law enforcement said. The officers fired at the vehicle’s wheels until it came to a stop. The five Palestinians inside were then arrested. No one was harmed in the incident.
At least 37 injured say Palestinian Red Crescent – Israeli forces using rubber bullets and batons ; amid funeral procession for Walid al-Sharif. Vid is near Damascus Gate pic.twitter.com/zDhC1ZT11H
— Tom Bateman (@tombateman) May 16, 2022
Thousands of Palestinians participated in the funeral procession for 21-year-old Walid a-Sharif. Palestinians said he died after being hit by a sponge-tipped bullet during the clashes on April 22. Police said he fell and hit his head while throwing rocks.
Israeli authorities returned a-Sharif’s body to his family earlier Monday evening and the latter immediately began a procession that reached the Temple Mount where a handful of participants were seen waving Palestinian flags. “With our souls and blood, we will redeem you, martyr,” the crowd chanted.
Photos from the scene showed the ambulance that transferred the body of a-Sharif with its windows broken and tires slashed. Palestinian media claimed this was a result of the police’s riot dispersal measures.
Clashes between Palestinians and police this evening following the funeral of Walid a-Sharif, who died after being critically hurt during clashes on the Temple Mount several weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/tZ6dtUF0ZG
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 16, 2022
This was the second East Jerusalem funeral in days that deteriorated into violence. Friday’s procession for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh drew international headlines after police were filmed rushing at and beating mourners, including pallbearers when the casket was brought out of a Jerusalem hospital en route to burial, almost causing it to fall to the ground. The Israel Police has offered a series of explanations for its use of force on the day of the funeral, including claiming that a mob of “300 rioters” had seized the casket at the hospital. This was denied by Shireen Abu Akleh’s brother in an interview with The Times of Israel on Sunday.
Clashes and unrest had been breaking out at the al-Aqsa Mosque that sits atop the Temple Mount nearly every day during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in April.
Police said a-Sharif was one of the masked youths hurling rocks when he fell over and hit his head on the stone floor. His family disputed this, saying he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet, used by police that morning.
Police published footage of what they said was a-Sharif, his face covered in a black and white checked keffiyeh, repeatedly throwing stones and rocks at Israeli security forces.
Hours after his death, Hamas said a-Sharif was a member of the terror group.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group issued a statement threatening Israel in the wake of a-Sharif’s death.
AP contributed to this report