Blinken says US ‘deeply troubled’ by Israel storming funeral

Published : 14 May 2022 08:36 PM

The United States is "deeply troubled" by Israeli police's intrusion Friday at the funeral of slain Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"We were deeply troubled to see the images of Israeli police intruding into her funeral procession today," Blinken said in a statement.

"Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner," he said.

"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."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki earlier also called the images "obviously deeply disturbing" and voiced "regret" over the intrusion, without explicitly condemning US ally Israel.

Television footage showed pallbearers struggling to stop Abu Akleh's coffin from falling to the ground as baton-wielding Israeli police officers charged at them, grabbing Palestinian flags from mourners.

Abu Akleh, a star journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed as she covered unrest in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The Qatar-based network alleged that she was deliberately targeted by Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett initially said that armed Palestinians were "likely" responsible but Israel has since walked back the allegation and said it was investigating.

The United States has called for a transparent investigation into her killing.