“They could have easily blocked the road if they didn’t want the funeral to leave the hospital, but the attack was deliberate and brutal,” Tony Abu Akle told CNN.
Speaking at St. Joseph’s Hospital in East Jerusalem, where the funeral procession began on Friday, he said he had spoken to Israeli police ahead of the event.
“The police called me and asked me to go to the police station and they wanted to know the route of the procession and preparations for the funeral. They asked us not to raise any Palestinian flags, no slogans or chants. I don’t want to hear this,” Abu Akle said.
“And they wanted to know the number of participants in the funeral procession. I told them that I can’t promise you anything, I don’t have numbers and I can’t control the crowd. everyone to participate. And this is what we saw,” he added.
The hospital condemned the “violent Israeli police incursion” in a statement on Monday.
St. Joseph’s Hospital called the incident “a gross violation of international norms and rules.”
“We, the bishops and believers of the Christian churches of the Holy Land, hereby condemn the forcible entry by the Israeli police into the funeral procession of the murdered journalist Shirin Abu Akle, as she was on her way from St. Joseph’s Hospital to the Greek-Melkite Cathedral,” the message says.
“Israeli police incursion and disproportionate use of force, attacking mourners, beating them with batons, using smoke bombs, firing rubber bullets, intimidating hospital patients is a serious violation of international norms and rules,” the statement said.
“The police attacked the sanctity of the site and the hospital campus, as well as the funeral, without hesitation, knowing that St. Joseph’s Hospital is under the auspices of the Vatican and guarded by the French government,” the report said.
Surveillance footage released by the hospital on Monday shows more than a dozen police officers storming the hospital building with batons and moving aggressively through the corridors. CNN turned to the Israeli police for an answer to the allegations at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev told CNN on Saturday that the police “acted to ensure that the funeral procession of journalist Shirin Abu Akle proceeded in an orderly manner, in coordination with her family and with a clear understanding of the sensitivity and complexity of the case.” event.
He added that “in the course of the funeral, heavy violence from the participants unfolded, which worsened the situation on the ground.”
Israeli authorities said they were investigating the incident, and the police tweeted: “The Israeli police stand by their police officers, but as a professional organization that is committed to learning and improving, they will also learn from the incident.”
Abu Akle, 51, was shot dead in Jenin on Wednesday. Palestinian and Israeli authorities are separately investigating the killing. Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately killing a veteran journalist.
CNN’s Karim Khadder reported from Jerusalem and Celine Alkhaldi reported from Amman, Jordan.