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TV: IDF chief given ‘very likely’ scenario reporter hit by errant troop’s fire

Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh buried in Jerusalem after a tumultuous funeral procession that saw police clash with mourners, almost topple casket; incident condemned by US EU

Mourners gather during the burial of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the Mount Zion Cemetery outside Jerusalem's Old City on May 13, 2022. (HAZEM BADER/AFP)
Mourners gather during the burial of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the Mount Zion Cemetery outside Jerusalem's Old City on May 13, 2022. (HAZEM BADER/AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they happened.

Blinken says US ‘deeply troubled’ by police conduct at Abu Akleh funeral

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing at the US Capitol, on April 26, 2022, in Washington. (Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images/AFP)
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing at the US Capitol, on April 26, 2022, in Washington. (Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US is “troubled” by Israeli police conduct at the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

“We were deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today. Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner,” Blinken says in a statement.

“We remain in close contact with our Israeli and Palestinian counterparts and call on all to maintain calm and avoid any actions that could further escalate tensions,” he says.

Police say officers intervened after ‘rioters’ seized slain reporter’s coffin

Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the coffin of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the coffin of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Officers who charged at Palestinians holding and surrounding the casket outside a Jerusalem hospital during the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh this morning intervened because rioters took her casket at the hospital against her family’s wishes, Israel Police say in a statement.

Police planned the funeral procession ahead of time with Abu Akleh’s family, a police spokesperson says in an English-language statement.

“About 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery — as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance,” the statement says.

The mob threatened the hearse’s driver, and took the coffin on an unplanned march to the cemetery, police say.

“This went against the wishes of the Abu Akleh family and the security coordinations that had been planned to safeguard the large number of mourners,” the statement says.

“Israeli Police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin, so that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family,” the statement says.

The rioters threw glass bottles and other objects, injuring officers and mourners, it adds.

Armed Palestinian who allegedly sought to commit attack arrested near Tzur Yitzhak — police

A knife and a rock found on a Palestinian suspect near the Israeli town of Tzur Yitzhak in central Israel, May 13, 2022. (Israel Police)
A knife and a rock found on a Palestinian suspect near the Israeli town of Tzur Yitzhak in central Israel, May 13, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police say officers have arrested an armed 19-year-old Palestinian who sought to commit a terror attack, near the central Israeli town of Tzur Yitzhak.

According to police, the suspect — apparently illegally in Israel — was found to be carrying a knife, a stone and a letter allegedly “indicating his intention to carry out an attack in Israeli territory.”

“Officers from the Tayibe station conducted scans in the area of ​​Tzur Yitzhak and Route 444 upon receiving a report of a man walking around the Tzur Yitzhak junction in a suspicious manner, with a stone in his hand,” police say.

The suspect is taken for further questioning.

Syria says Israeli airstrikes in northwest kill 5, including one civilian

Syria’s state media outlet says five people are killed in Israeli airstrikes Friday tonight in Masyaf, in the northwestern part of the country.

According to SANA, one of those killed is a civilian, meaning the other four were military forces.

The network says seven other people, including a child, were hurt in the airstrikes.

Damage was also caused to a site in the area, SANA says, without elaborating further.

As a rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has acknowledged conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country.

TV: IDF chief presented with ‘very likely’ scenario Al Jazeera reporter hit by errant troop’s fire

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks from a military base in the West Bank, on May 11, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks from a military base in the West Bank, on May 11, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi held a closed meeting with several generals yesterday regarding the possibility Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was hit by an Israeli bullet in Jenin on Wednesday, according to a television report.

Two sources familiar with the discussion say this possibility was defined as “very likely,” Channel 12 news reports.

The meeting was held before the Israel Defense Forces published an interim probe report, where an incident of Israeli fire was listed as one of the two scenarios that may have led to the death of Abu Akleh, alongside the possibility of Palestinian gunfire.

According to the network, some of the meeting’s participants considered it no less likely and possibly more likely that she was hit by an errant IDF bullet than by the indiscriminate Palestinian fire.

Kohavi reportedly said these were premature and speculative assessments — and ordered more expert input and a reconstruction of the events, conducted by troops earlier today.

The IDF chief also said we “certainly think it is possible” that she was hit by IDF fire, but that examining the bullet pulled from Abu Akleh’s neck would provide definitive answers.

The IDF spokesman tells the network in response that it cannot definitively determine the circumstances of the reporter’s death, and the military will continue to investigate and is committed to finding the truth.

IDF says it cannot determine who shot Al Jazeera reporter without examining bullet — report

Protesters hold candles and a photo of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen during an IDF raid in Jenin, in Haifa, Israel, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Protesters hold candles and a photo of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen during an IDF raid in Jenin, in Haifa, Israel, May 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel is insisting it cannot determine who shot Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh to death in Jenin on Wednesday without examining the bullet removed from her neck, according to an Israeli television report.

Channel 12 news says Israel has asked the US for assistance in the case, as Abu Akleh had American citizenship. The Israel Defense forces said earlier today that the Palestinians had rejected offers to be present and take part in the inquiry alongside an American representative.

During a raid in Jenin today, troops headed to the scene where Abu Akleh was killed, to attempt to reconstruct the events.

Still, an interim report issued by the IDF says there are two likely scenarios, which in neither case — Palestinian terrorists’ gunfire or Israeli sniper fire — was she killed deliberately.

In the case of Israeli sniper fire, the army said the probe involved a soldier who used a gun with a telescopic sight to fire back at a gunman through a slit in the armored vehicle he was riding in.

“The gunman fired bursts toward the IDF soldier several times and there is a possibility that the reporter was struck by the soldier’s fire toward [him],” a statement from the IDF said.

But according to Channel 12, the army says it cannot definitively say which gunfire killed Abu Akleh until it examines the bullet, which is being held by the Palestinian Authority.

White House says images from funeral ‘deeply disturbing’; EU says its ‘appalled’

Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in East Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)
Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in East Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)

The White House describes as “deeply disturbing” footage from the Jerusalem funeral of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh that showed Israeli police rushing mourners at the procession.

“We have all seen those images, they’re obviously deeply disturbing,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki tells reporters.

“We regret the intrusion of what should have been a peaceful procession,” she adds.

The EU also condemns the violence, saying it  “is appalled by the scenes.”

The EU  condemns the disproportionate use of force and the disrespectful behavior by the Israeli police against the participants of the mourning procession. Allowing for a peaceful farewell and letting mourners grieve in peace without harassment and humiliation, is the minimal human respect.”

Syria says air defenses engaging airstrikes in northwest

Syria’s state news agency is reporting that air defenses are engaging “hostile targets” over Masyaf, in the northwestern part of the country.

The state-run SANA does not immediately accuse Israel, but other media outlets in the country do.

A Twitter account tracking Israeli military activity in Syria posts an image alleging to show a site that was struck.

 

Joint List MK seen hitting officer after being stopped from reaching W. Bank protest

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif is seen attacking a police officer after being prevented from reaching a protest in the South Hebron Hills.

In a video, a police officer attempts to halt Cassif’s vehicle. The car hits the officer slightly, and he approaches the MK and shouts at him to move his car away. Cassif then hits the officer in the face, and accuses him of attacking him first.

Police say they have opened an inquiry into the matter, to assess if a criminal investigation can be opened.

MKs have immunity, which allows them to travel almost everywhere in the country. It was not clear why Cassif was barred entry from the area.

Cassif was attempting to reach a protest at Masafer Yatta — or Firing Zone 918 — an agriculture area near Hebron in the West Bank, which Israel’s top court recently ruled to evict over 1,000 Palestinians from the land.

US lawmakers slam police rushing casket at funeral of Al Jazeera correspondent

Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in East Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)
Israeli police confront mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in East Jerusalem, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Maya Levin)

US lawmakers are speaking out against the police’s rushing of mourners during the funeral procession of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

“This is awful to watch,” tweets Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. “I’m traveling in Connecticut today, but I have my team working to get answers about what happened here.”

“Agree,” Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen chimes in. “This simply adds trauma on top of a tragedy. Need immediate accountability for these attacks on people mourning the death of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. And her killer must be brought to justice.”

“This is sickening. Violent racism, enabled by $3.8B in unconditional military US funds. For the Israeli apartheid government, Shireen’s life didn’t matter — and her dehumanization continues after death,” tweets Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, calling on the State Department to issue a condemnation.

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana resigns post, will remain Yamina MK

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana speaks during a conference in Jerusalem on February 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana speaks during a conference in Jerusalem on February 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana announces that he is resigning his post, effective immediately.

Kahana says he has informed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of his intention to return to the Knesset as a regular MK.

Kahana says that the move is intended to “help strengthen the coalition.”

The move is seen as aimed at preventing further defections from the Yamina party to the opposition.

Slain Al Jazeera journalist buried after tumultous funeral procession

Mourners gather during the burial of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the Mount Zion Cemetery outside Jerusalem's Old City on May 13, 2022. (HAZEM BADER/AFP)
Mourners gather during the burial of slain veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the Mount Zion Cemetery outside Jerusalem's Old City on May 13, 2022. (HAZEM BADER/AFP)

Slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is buried in Jerusalem after a tumultuous funeral procession that saw police clash with mourners.

Thousands of Palestinians flood into the Catholic cemetery at Mount Zion, honoring Abu Akleh.

“Everyone loved her. She was honest and told our story. When she died, it was painful for me and my children,” says East Jerusalem resident Arif Hammad.

Palestinians burst into applause around her coffin, throwing petals of flowers as pallbearers carry her to her gravesite.

Police say they rushed funeral after rocks thrown at officers, 6 arrested

Police defend rushing at crowds at the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, saying that mourners, including those near the coffin, had been throwing rocks and objects at police.

“Before and at the start of the funeral procession, after incitement and violent riots began in the hospital plaza, which included throwing stones and objects at the policemen, the policemen had to disperse and repel the rioters and make arrests in order to allow the funeral to take place as required,” police say in a statement.

They also release video showing rocks being thrown and a police commander warning the crowd that if they continue to chant nationalist and inciting calls, they will stop the funeral.

“The stones and objects were also thrown by those near the coffin at the hospital These rioters even damaged the funeral vehicle and tried to prevent it from driving,” police say.

“We are sorrowed by the cynical exploitation made by instigators, in the death of the journalist,” police say, adding that six people were arrested.

Police chief hails slain commando, reveals he saved life of comrade in recent clash

Police Chief Kobi Shabtai hails Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, who was killed in a battle with terrorists near Jenin this morning, as a hero who recently saved the life of a comrade.

“We bow our heads in the memory of Noam Raz z”l who fell in an exchange of fire with terrorists,” says Shabtai.

Noam, was a dedicated husband, an exemplary father and one of the best fighters in the Israel police,” he says.

He revealed that Raz, who was a paramedic in the elite Yamam counterterror unit, had recently saved the life of a seriously wounded comrade during previous clashes in Jenin in recent weeks.

“Heroism and values were inherent in his character and operational activity in the Yamam,” he says.

Police commando wounded in Jenin raid dies of his wounds, named as Noam Raz, 47

Police commando Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, who was killed in an operation in Jenin on May 13, 2022 (Police)
Police commando Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, who was killed in an operation in Jenin on May 13, 2022 (Police)

A police commando who was seriously wounded amid fierce exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in the northern West Bank this morning has died of his wounds, police say.

The officer is named as Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz, 47, a veteran of the elite Yamam unit.

Raz was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he was declared dead, police say.

Raz leaves behind a wife and six children.

He was killed during an operation that included raids on terror suspects’ homes.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry reported 13 hurt, including one critically, in the Jenin fighting.

Footage on social media showed masked Palestinians firing rifles in the direction of Israeli soldiers, as heavy gunfire could be heard.

Crowd swells at funeral as thousands cross police barricades

Palestinians cross over police barricades, swelling the crowd’s ranks at the funeral to at least 10,000.

Police do not attempt to stop them as they form a human tide from Jaffa Gate to the cemetery at Mount Zion.

Some are seen tearing down Israeli flags by Jaffa Gate as they march past.

Palestinian mourners seen pulling down an Israeli flag as they march past Jaffa Gate during the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (Aaron Boxerman/Times of Israel)

At least 1,000 mourners escort Abu Akleh’s casket toward Jaffa Gate

The funeral is now proceeding in a calmer manner.

At least 1,000 mourners are escorting Abu Akleh’s casket toward Jaffa Gate.

Palestinian scouts play out a memorial reel on bagpipes and beat on drums.

Others cast flowers at her casket in a sign of respect.

Israeli leaders mourn passing of UAE president

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 5, 2007. (AP Photo/WAM, File)
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 5, 2007. (AP Photo/WAM, File)

Israeli leaders offer their condolences to the United Arab Emirates over the death of the Gulf state’s President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

“Sheikh Khalifa’s legacy and tremendous deeds are greatly admired in Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says. “The State of Israel stands alongside the United Arab Emirates at this difficult time.”

President Isaac Herzog calls the Emirati ruler’s death “a great loss for our friends in the UAE and for the whole region.”

“Sheikh Khalifa’s bold leadership contributed so much to the advancement of the UAE and its people and to the growing partnership between our countries and is a great legacy for his successors,” said Herzog.

Israel and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 2020, the first of several US-backed normalization agreements between the Jewish state and Arab countries that year. Israeli leaders have since met several times with top Emirati officials but not the late president, who has taken a back seat since suffering a stroke in 2014.

Police say they made efforts for ‘respectable funeral’ but rioters caused disruption

In a statement, police say they had held dialogue with Abu Akleh’s family ahead of time in order to “enable a respectable funeral.”

“Unfortunately under the auspices of the funeral and taking cynical advantage of it, hundreds of people began disrupting the public order before it even began,” police say.

Violence erupts between Israeli security forces and Palestinian mourners carrying the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of a hospital, before being transported to a church and then her resting place, in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

“As the coffin was about to exit the hospital, stones began to be thrown at officers from the hospital’s plaza, and the officers were forced to use riot dispersal means,” the statement add.

Police also release a video in which an officer, outside the hospital grounds, is addressing the crowd over a loudspeaker.

“If you don’t stop these chants and [Palestinian] nationalistic songs we will have to disperse you using force and we won’t let the funeral take place,” the officer says in the video.

Police shut down Old City with barricades and deploy in force

Palestinian mourners carry the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of a hospital, before being transported to a church and then her resting place, in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022 (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Palestinian mourners carry the casket of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of a hospital, before being transported to a church and then her resting place, in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022 (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Police have closed off Jerusalem’s Old City with barricades and deployed across the area, preventing more mourners from joining Abu Akleh’s procession.

The Old City entryway by Jaffa Gate is already densely packed with Palestinians and journalists waiting to carry her body to Mount Zion for burial.

Abu Akleh family prays over reporter’s body inside Catholic church by Jaffa Gate

The Abu Akleh family prays over her inside the Catholic church near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Joint List lawmakers, including party chief Ayman Odeh, are present.

“Let the olive branch fall and take up the rifle,” some people present chant, a reference to a famous speech by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Turkey says it opposes NATO membership for Finland, Sweden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey does not have a “positive opinion” on Finland and Sweden joining NATO and accuses Scandinavian countries of harboring outlawed Kurdish militants.

“We do not have a positive opinion. Scandinavian countries are like a guesthouse for terror organizations,” Erdogan tells journalists after Friday prayers in Istanbul.

Erdogan says Turkey’s former rulers “made a mistake” by giving a green light for Greece’s NATO membership in 1952.

“We, as Turkey, do not want to make a second mistake on this issue,” he says.

The Turkish leader accuses Scandinavian countries of sheltering members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Violence erupts as journalist’s casket emerges from Jerusalem hospital

Violence erupts at a Jerusalem hospital as the casket containing the body of Shireen Abu Akleh emerges ahead of burial.

Images aired on Palestine TV show Abu Akleh’s coffin nearly falling to the ground as police grab flags from the crowd around the procession.

Police say hundreds of people began rioting and throwing rocks prior to the start of the funeral, and that officers began dispersing the violent persons to allow the funeral to move forward.

Hundreds gather near Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate for funeral of Al Jazeera reporter

Police and mourners are seen during the funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP)
Police and mourners are seen during the funeral procession of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, on May 13, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP)

Hundreds of Palestinians gather near Jaffa Gate as the body of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh arrives ahead of her funeral.

Abu Akleh, a correspondent for Al Jazeera widely beloved in the Palestinian street, was killed while covering clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin on Wednesday. It remains unclear who fired the bullet that took her life.

Abu Akleh’s death touched a chord with the Palestinian public, which has been in mourning for the past two days.

“She was one of us. She touched everyone. When she died, I couldn’t work, I just went home. Whenever I hear her name I cry,” says Amir Abu Nijma, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.

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