Israeli Police Accuse Arab Lawmaker of Helping Palestinian Suspect Flee

Footage shows the Joint List's Ahmad Tibi arguing with officers while the suspect flees from near a church where relatives of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh were gathering

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Joint List party MK Ahmad Tibi, on February.
Joint List party MK Ahmad Tibi, on February.Credit: Noam Rivkin Fenton
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Israeli police accuse an Arab lawmaker of helping a suspect flee in East Jerusalem. In response, Ahmad Tibi's Joint List party accused police of "provocation" in sending officers to a church where relatives of slain Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh were gathering. 

According to police, officers apprehended on Thursday a Palestinian man suspected of hurling a "suspicious object." Moments later, according to footage from the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Tibi approaches the officers, starts arguing with them and appears to have shielded the Palestinian suspect from them.

The suspect can be seen fleeing while Tibi argues with the cops, but was caught shortly after. 

Footage from Thursday's incident showing Tibi arguing with officers while the suspect flees.

According to Tibi, the man managed to escape a second time. He shared a video showing the suspect fleeing when the lawmaker wasn't near. The suspect was eventually detained. 

Police said they condemn Tibi's conduct and accuse him of abusing his parliamentary immunity: "Disturbing police activity is wrong, especially when it is done by a public official who is supposed to set an example." 

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said that Tibi's behavior is unacceptable and that if he has complaints about police conduct "he can come directly to me."

The Joint List party said in response that police presence near the church was provocative and blamed them for trying to beat and arrest youth who were offering condolences to the grieving family.

Relatives of Shireen Abu Akleh carry her body as she arrives in Jerusalem, on Thursday.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

Police summon journalist's brother

Earlier on Thursday, police summoned Abu Akleh's brother and asked him to disperse his sister’s funeral procession if rioting ensued.

The police “wanted to hear about the funeral arrangements and warned against flags and slogans,” Tibi, who accompanied Abu Akleh to the station, said. “As if anyone could control this. We aren’t talking about the funeral of a journalist who got run over.”

Shireen Abu Akleh's funeral is expected later on Friday in Jerusalem. The procession will begin at 2 P.M. in St. Joseph hospital in Shiekh Jarrah, in the city's east, followed by a march through the Old City's Jaffa Gate and on to the Roman Catholic Church in the Christian Quarter, where the funeral will take place. She will then be laid to rest at the Greek Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion. 

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