Sunday, September 9, 2007
From Yousef Salim in Hebron
"Dozens of heavily-armed Fatah militiamen on Sunday ganged up and savagely beat Hebron University students, injuring dozens, including several journalists.
At least two cameramen, Yosri al-Jamal who works for Reuters, and Hazem Badr, were admitted to hospital, having been beaten up badly by Fatah’s gunmen.
According to eyewitnesses, a large force of about 100 armed men dressed in military uniform stormed the Hebron University campus before noon Sunday to suppress a student meeting, called for by the Student Council to discuss college tuitions and student loans.
“As soon as they arrived, they started beating students and journalists with clubs and rifle butts.
“They behaved like ferocious animals, they beat people on the head without any justification,” said Muhammed Ayadeh.
The gunmen reportedly were led by Samih Seifi, PA commander of the Hebron Area, who ordered journalists not to use their phones or film the onslaught on the student.
However, as journalists began taking pictures and videotaping the assault on the students, gunmen ganged up on the students and savagely beat journalists.
Moreover, cameras, including TV cameras, were confiscated, according to a cameraman working for the local Ma’an News Agency.
Al-Jamal reportedly was hit in the face and on the head, causing him an internal bleeding.
The attackers also reportedly opened fire into the air, but it was unclear if any of the student was wounded by gunfire.
Among the students reportedly injured are Muhammed Jebril Darawish (in the head), Muhammed Ismael al Wawi and Y. Jabari.
Several students were arrested including Asem al Jabari, Omar Abu Arqoub and Taher Asafreh.
The brutal attack on the students has been harshly condemned by the people of Hebron and local notables.
“Even the Jews didn’t do this to us,” said one notable from the Maraqa family. “They are thugs, thieves and criminals,” said Muhammed Jabari, another local notable.
The governor of Hebron, Hussein al Araj, refused to condemn the attack on the students, saying that “it is not the policy of the Palestinian Authority to attack students and universities.”
Al-Araj said he would order investigation into what happened, saying he hoped that such “incidents” won’t be repeated.