Three students of An-Najah University were seriously injured on Tuesday after being stabbed with knives outside the campus gates.
The attack, which took place in front of An-Najah University in Nablus, in the north of the occupied West Bank, was believed to have been carried out by youth gangs.
The incident seems to have been sparked following a meeting between internal student bodies at the university. A representative of the university’s Islamic party, Amro Rihan, accused the head of the An-Najah’s Student Council, Ibrahim Atta, of disrespecting student parties in general and the Islamic party in particular. Atta allegedly told attendees of the meeting that “whoever has anything to say, I want to stamp on his head.”
The verbal incident then quickly escalated into violence. According to Rihan’s account, several members of the Islamic party decided to withdraw from the university campus but were intercepted by the university’s security personnel. The security then expelled Rihan to the university gates by force. While standing outside the gate, youths allegedly belonging to Fatah attacked the students with knives, leaving them wounded.
For its part, An-Najah University added that Rihan had previously been banned from entering the campus and as such was on the university’s grounds without permission. In a statement, the University explained that it intervened to break up the sit-in, which subsequently escalated into a battle between the students and security forces.
In a statement, Rihan said that: “I contacted Dr Maher al-Natsheh, the university president, to brief him on what happened, but he started talking to me as if I were guilty of [causing] the problems. He refused to explain anything to me and [said] I did not want to reach a solution.”
The Islamic party has said that it holds the An-Najah administration “fully accountable” for what happened, stressing that they bear the responsibility for this “serious” incident. The Islamic party added “we will appeal to the security authorities and human rights organisations to restore [our] rights.”
The president of An-Najah University has called for an investigation committee to be formed, which will be composed of members of the university’s administration and legal figures from the city of Nablus. The results of the committee will be “binding and acceptable to all.”