Israeli occupation arrests Abu Akleh bearer

One of the Palestinian bearers who was attacked by Israeli police while carrying the coffin of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at her funeral on Friday has been arrested by the Israeli occupation authorities.

A lawyer representing 34-year-old Amro Abu Khudeir said the Jerusalem man had been arrested at his home in the Shuafat area in the early hours of Monday morning and had been repeatedly questioned about events surrounding the funeral.

The lawyer, Khaldoun Najm, added that Abu Khudeir had been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

“He gets no light or sense of the time of day in his two-meter-for-an-underground cell,” Najm said.

Najm added that Abu Khudeir had attended a court hearing on Monday and had had his detention extended to Sunday.

Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian-American journalist, was killed by Israeli forces during his coverage of an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank on 11 May.

Israeli police attacked carriers and mourners at Abu Akleh’s funeral as the event was broadcast live on television around the world, with thousands gathering to watch her coffin being transferred from St Joseph Hospital to her final resting place on Mount Zion, just outside the Old City. by i Jerusalem.

Abu Khudeir stood out in television footage of the funeral, which showed pallet bearers fighting to prevent Abu Akleh’s coffin from falling to the ground as Israeli police attacked the mourners using sticks. The move aroused worldwide condemnation and calls for an inquiry, including from the UN.

Abu Khudeir was nicknamed the “coffin guard” after he was seen holding on to the coffin despite being aggressively beaten by police.

While several pallet carriers were beaten by Israeli police, Najm says Abu Khudeir was the only pallet carrier arrested by the Israeli authorities after the funeral.

“Israeli intelligence claims that Amro worked with a terrorist organization and that he has a secret file with the intelligence service,” Najm told Al Jazeera.

Najm said, however, that it seemed unlikely because Abu Khudeir informed him that all the questions during his interrogation had been related to the funeral.

“Amro was asked why he insisted on carrying the coffin and making sure it did not fall to the ground,” Najm said. “The main focus of the questions was that he was a pallet bearer at Abu Akleh’s funeral.”

Najm said Abu Khudeir, a father of two, was a known activist in Jerusalem and had previously been arrested by Israeli police.

Israeli police have not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment on Abu Khudeir’s arrest and detention at the time of publication.

Israeli police forces also seized Palestinian flags from mourners at the funeral, as well as smashing the window of the hearse with Abu Akleh’s body and removing a Palestinian flag from it.

Israel ordered an investigation into its officer’s behavior at Abu Akleh’s funeral when the Palestinian Authority said it welcomed international support to investigate the killing of her.


Arab Observer

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