Israeli Forces Raid West Bank Universities, Arrest 11 Palestinian Students

The students at are accused of funneling money, organizing rallies in support of Hamas as well as incitement, according to a military statement

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IDF soldiers carry out a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.
IDF soldiers carry out a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.Credit: IDF

The Israeli military and Shin Bet security service arrested early Tuesday morning 11 students who are allegedly part of a Hamas cell, after raiding two Palestinian universities in the West Bank, a statement by the Israeli army said. 

Those arrested, all students at An-Najah University in Nablus, were accused of funneling money, organizing rallies in support of Hamas as well as incitement, according to the statement.

The arrests are the latest development in a months-long joint operation between the Israeli army and Shin Bet to thwart what they say is a network of Hamas student cells known as Al-Kutla Al-Islamiya operating across universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Members recruited to the network are trained in Hamas' guiding ideology, act on behalf of the group, and receive financial assistance from Hamas to finance their studies, the military said.

Birzeit University in Ramallah said in a statement that Israeli forces also raided their campus Tuesday morning to conduct a search operation. When forces began to withdraw, clashes broke out and stones were hurled at soldiers near the university's gates.

Hours after the raid, students held a ceremony at the site to mark the anniversary of the Hamas movement's founding.

The army said later that the raid was intended to thwart incitement efforts at the rally by confiscating materials, adding that there were no arrests and the operation concluded relatively quietly.

The Israeli army arrested dozens of Palestinian students in July suspected of belonging to a Hamas student cell at Birzeit University. The army accused some of the suspects of being "directly involved in terrorist activities." 

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