Hebron university shut down after Fatah-Hamas clashes

Several students were wounded during the riots, eyewitnesses told 'The Jerusalem Post'.

hebron 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
hebron 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The administration of the Islamic University in Hebron decided Saturday to suspend studies until further notice following fierce clashes on campus between students affiliated with Fatah and Hamas. The clashes erupted after students belonging to the Hamas-affiliated Islamic List distributed leaflets accusing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's forces of arresting four of their colleagues. Several students were wounded during the riots, eyewitnesses told The Jerusalem Post. They said the rioters also damaged furniture and equipment. Sources close to Hamas accused the Fatah students of instigating the clashes. "They have been provoking our supporters on campus for a long time," the sources said. "Members of the Islamic List were only trying to stage a peaceful protest against the arrest of their colleagues." According to the sources, the university administration and the Fatah students summoned the PA security forces to intervene in the fighting in a move that further exacerbated tensions. The university administration accused the Hamas students of violating regulations banning the dissemination of "inflammatory" material on campus. It said the Hamas students tried to hang anti-Fatah posters and placards denouncing the PA and Mahmoud Abbas. A university official said studies would not be resumed unless both Hamas and Fatah apologized for the riots on campus. The PA's governor of Hebron, Hussein al-A'raj, ordered the Palestinian security forces to stay away from the campus to avoid escalating the tensions. He said the PA would take measures against any individual or party that tried to "disrupt the academic process in Palestinian universities." The incident is the second of its kind on the Hebron university campus in the past few months. Other campuses have also witnessed similar confrontations between supporters of Hamas and Fatah, prompting the administrations to suspend studies temporarily. Last week classes were suspended at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza City after violent clashes that were blamed on Hamas supporters. The university is one of the last Fatah strongholds in the Gaza Strip.