Israeli army says students belong to a Hamas student wing at Birzeit University, which condemned the arrests and appealed for their release.
The Israeli army has arrested dozens of Palestinian students on allegations of being “terror operatives” of the Hamas group.
According to reports, the Israeli army said it had arrested between 20 and 30 students in Turmus Aya, a village in the north of the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday.
Palestinian sources told AFP news agency that the students, from Birzeit University near Ramallah, were arrested on their way back from the village, where earlier this month Israeli troops punitively demolished the home of the wife of a shooting suspect, Muntasser Shalabi. The 44-year-old Palestinian-American is awaiting trial for killing a Jewish student and injuring two others in May.
An Israeli army statement said: “Some of the apprehended terror operatives were directly involved in terror activities, including money transfers, incitement and the organisation of Hamas activities in [the West Bank].”
A statement announcing the arrests said the student had been detained in a joint operation involving the army, the police and the Shin Bet domestic security agency.
Birzeit University strongly condemns the detention of several students by Israeli forces near Turmus Aya, where their vehicle was blocked and they were arrested and led to an unknown location. pic.twitter.com/vrsQAvA9cO
— Birzeit University (@BirzeitU) July 14, 2021
Palestinian university calls for students’ release
The Palestinian group Hamas, which runs blockaded Gaza and fought an 11-day conflict with Israel in May, is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.
For Palestinians, however, it is a political party that has affiliated student wings active on university campuses.
Birzeit University in a statement voiced concern over the fate of its students and condemned the arrests as being part of a “systematic policy” contravening “all international laws and norms that guarantee students’ right to movement”.
“The university calls on the international community to intervene immediately to secure their release,” the statement said.
Palestinian sources told AFP that some of the students were expected to be released soon but others faced protracted detention.
Source: TRTWorld and agencies