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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Politics at Cameraman's Funeral

HEBRON, West Bank -- Mazen Dana, the Reuters cameraman killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, was buried Wednesday in the West Bank city where he braved bullets to chronicle the tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

About 3,000 mourners, some chanting "Americans are dogs," accompanied Dana's body through his home town of Hebron in a procession reminiscent of final honors accorded to Palestinians killed by Israel in an uprising for statehood.

Dana, a 41-year-old Palestinian, was best known for award-winning reporting from Hebron, a main flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where he had been wounded and beaten numerous times by Israeli soldiers.

On Sunday, while on assignment in Iraq, he was shot dead by a U.S. soldier on a tank while filming near a Baghdad prison.

Reuters has called on the U.S. army to investigate how, by the official U.S. account, a soldier mistook Dana's television camera for a grenade launcher. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad called the killing a "terrible tragedy."

Dana was the second Reuters journalist to be killed in Baghdad in four months. his death brought to 18 the number of journalists or their assistants to die in Iraq since the war began.

He leaves a wife, Suzanne, and four young children.

Colleagues from Europe, Israel, Africa and the West Bank attended his funeral in Hebron, which was tense after a Palestinian suicide bomber from the city killed 18 people in an attack on a Jerusalem bus Tuesday night.

Dana was remembered as a physically towering figure who never shrank from covering a dangerous story. Hebron, where 500 hardline Jewish settlers live in enclaves among the city's 150,000 Palestinians, has been a scene of frequent violence.

"Mazen was simply the best combat cameraman of his generation," said Stephen Jukes, Reuters' global head of news, who traveled to Hebron with a delegation of senior editors. "His bravery was legendary, his commitment total."

Dana's body, draped in a Palestinian flag, was carried aloft through the streets from a mosque in central Hebron to his burial at the city's Martyrs' Cemetery.

A smattering of Iraqi and Hamas flags fluttered amid the procession for Dana, who had received numerous memorial tributes from groups ranging from international relief agencies to militant organizations.

"Mazen, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle," mourners chanted. Shouts against Israel and the United States occasionally sounded from the crowd. As his body was lowered into the ground, relatives wept and one of his brothers collapsed in the arms of fellow mourners.

Minutes after the funeral, four Israeli border police vehicles drove past. Several youths broke from the crowd of mourners and threw stones at the convoy.

Dana had worked for Reuters covering Hebron and other Middle East hotspots for the past decade. Dozens of younger Hebron journalists considered him their teacher and mentor.

He shared a prestigious press freedom award handed out in 2001 by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Dana said when he won the award that he had been shot in the leg three times, hit by rubber bullets and beaten by soldiers scores of times and had his hand broken twice.

He said he knew that one day, covering the truth might also kill him, but that nothing would stop him from working as a journalist so the world could see what was happening.