Undercover agents from Israel’s Border Police posing as journalists Wednesday stormed Birzeit University, near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and kidnaped the head of the student council, Omar Kiswani.
Birzeit University issued a statement condemning what it called the “barbaric intrusion” that left two other students injured by Israeli gunfire. According to a statement issued by the university, the assault is part of the “systematic destruction of Palestinian educational life by targeting academic institutions.”
Witnesses say students and campus guards confronted the Israeli occupation forces to protect Omar but the soldiers were able to confine the guards to their quarters using lethal force.
They also told Shehab News Agency the gunmen arrived at the university in a bus with Palestinian licence plates, dressed as civilians and carrying press equipment.
“They identified Omar and called over to him as if they wanted to interview him (then) they beat him, pulled out their weapons, and a large group of occupation soldiers stormed through the main entrance of the university,” Yahya Alawi, a member of the student council who witnessed the assault, told Quds News Network.
Students threw stones at the soldiers who responded with live ammunition.
Israeli occupation forces are known to dress as civilians and infiltrate demonstrations to arrest Palestinians in the West Bank.
The student leader is a member of a bloc aligned with the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and has previously denounced being arrested and interrogated by Palestinian Authority forces. Birzeit University has been repeatedly raided by Israeli occupation forces and dozens of its students have been arrested.
According to Ynet News, the Israeli journalist union has condemned the Israeli forces for disguising as journalists, arguing it endangers the work of real journalists.