Israeli police have hit mourners at the funeral of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqla, whose killing in the occupied West Bank has caused a surge of anger.
Her coffin almost fell as police, some using batons, waded into a crowd of Palestinians gathered around it.
Police said they acted after being pelted with stones.
Abu Aqla was shot dead in disputed circumstances on Wednesday, with Israel and Palestinians trading blame. The killing has been widely condemned.
Footage showed a standoff between police and Palestinians gathered around the coffin in the hospital compound, before officers push the crowd back, with some beating and kicking mourners. Police said officers “were forced to use riot dispersal means”.
We were in the car park of St Joseph’s hospital, where hundreds of Palestinian mourners had gathered ready for Shireen Abu Aqla’s coffin to be carried out into a waiting hearse.
There was a shrine of written tributes, a floral crucifix (Shireen was a Palestinian Christian) and poignantly a press flak jacket among the flowers. Many were in tears. There was some chanting and Palestinian flags were being flown.
Suddenly the gates to the compound were closed and heavily armed Israeli border police, some on horseback, appeared on the other side of them. Given the circumstances it already felt confrontational.
The coffin was brought out of the building carried by a group of pallbearers. While the plan was for the procession to the church to use the hearse, the coffin was now being carried towards the closed gates.
What happened next was extraordinary. I was behind the packed crowd so I couldn’t see the front point of contact, but the Israeli police suddenly pushed back the crowd, including the coffin and its carriers.
They fired stun grenades towards the mourners and the press and were storming into the compound. From my vantage point – not at the front of the crowd – I saw a couple of plastic bottles being thrown back, nothing more. People ran to take cover inside the hospital. I saw a woman with a young baby in a carrier sling distraught, almost being crushed in the panic.
The echo of stun grenades rang out in the hospital corridors and wards. I saw at least one man wounded.
This seemed to go on for around 10 minutes, as we sought a safe route back towards the car park. After we came out, the coffin left in the hearse through the gates. And now videos have emerged showing what happened while people were rushing inside – Israeli police beating and kicking the pallbearers, who were in retreat carrying Shireen Abu Aqla’s coffin. At one stage it nearly slipped from their grasp, falling towards the ground.