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Gunmen Storm Al-Quds Open University in Khan Yunis

Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms

Attacks on Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update

28 February 2006

 

Gunmen Storm Al-Quds Open University in Khan Yunis

A group of gunmen belonging to the “Ahmad Abu El-Riesh Brigades,” affiliated with Fatah, stormed the campus of Al-Quds Open University in Khan Yunis.  They announced the closure of the campus until their demands were met.

PCHR’s initial investigation indicates that at approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 28 February 2006, gunmen from the “Ahmad Abu El-Riesh Brigades” stormed the campus, located north of Khan Yunis on  Salah E’Deen Road.  They told the university staff to close their offices and leave the campus.  They announced the closure of the campus until their demands were met.

The gunmen distributed a leaflet outlining a number of demands relating to student affairs.  These included: waiving the tuition fees of any students whose father had been killed during the Intifada; transferring 50,000 Jordanian Dinars from the Student Activities Budget towards providing books for needy students; and holding new elections for the Student Council.

A Palestinian police force arrived at the scene.  A meeting was held between the Dr. Abdel Naser Ferwana (President of the University’s Khan Yunis Campus), a police officer and a representative of the gunmen.  The meeting reached an understanding between the parties involved that the campus would be reopened tomorrow and that some of the demands would be considered.  The gunmen withdrew from the campus at approximately 10:30.

PCHR looks with concern at this serious incident, which is a continuation of the internal security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The Centre warns against interference by armed groups and security personnel in the affairs of universities, which will affect academic performance and freedom.  The Centre calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate this incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice.