Israel-Palestine war: Three Palestinian students shot in US in critical condition

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Rights group says students were wearing keffiyehs and speaking in Arabic when shot by unidentified gunmen in Burlington, Vermont, amid fears anti-Muslim violence in US is growing
The three students have been identified as Tahseen Ahmed, Kinnan Abdel Hamid and Hisham Awartani (Twitter/X)

Three Palestinian students who were shot on Saturday night in the north-eastern US state of Vermont are in critical care in hospital, a civil rights group has said.

The Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said the three Palestinian students, wearing keffiyehs and speaking in Arabic, were en route to dinner when they were shot by an unidentified gunman in Burlington.

“After reviewing the initial information provided we have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab,” the ADC said in a statement on Sunday.

“All three victims survived the initial shooting, however, two of them are currently in ICU, and one of the students has sustained very critical and serious injuries. The full extent of injuries is unknown at this time.”

The three 2o-year-old students, identified as Tahseen Ahmed of Trinity College, Connecticut, Kinnan Abdel Hamid of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Hisham Awartani of Brown University, Rhode Island, are graduates of the Ramallah Friends School in the West Bank.

The victims were reportedly transported to the UVM Medical Center in Burlington.


“As parents, we are devastated by the horrific news that our children were targeted and shot in Burlington, VT,” the families said in a joint statement released on Sunday.

“We will not be comfortable until the shooter is brought to justice. We need to ensure that our children are protected, and that this heinous crime is not repeated.

“No family should ever have to endure this pain and agony. Our children are dedicated students who deserve to be able to focus on their studies and building their futures,” the statement added.

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The Burlington City Police Department did not immediately reply to requests from Middle East Eye for comment.

Separately, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement offering $10,000 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the shooters.

“CAIR also called on state and federal law enforcement authorities in Vermont to investigate a possible bias motive for the shooting,” the statement read.

Shock waves

The Palestinian foreign ministry on Sunday condemned the shooting and called on US authorities to quickly hold those responsible for the shooting to account.

The incident has sent shock waves across universities in the US, where students have found themselves on the frontline in a wave of protests against Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza.

Though there has been a reported surge in antisemitic incidents in the US, it is Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims who have faced the brunt of a campaign of hate, disinformation and physical assault over the past eight weeks since Hamas fighters broke out of besieged Gaza and launched an attack on Israel on 7 October.

Israel-Palestine war: Six-year-old fatally stabbed 26 times by anti-Muslim landlord

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Just over a week later, a six-year-old Palestinian boy, Wadea al-Fayoume, was murdered by a white man in Illinois. He was stabbed 26 times.

According to police in Plainfield Township, roughly 60km southwest of the city of Chicago, the mother and son were targeted by their landlord, Joseph Czuba, in relation to the nine-day conflict and because of their religious beliefs.

“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Last week, a former Obama aide was caught on camera launching racist and anti-Islamic tirades against Mohamed Hussein, a 24-year-old food truck vendor in New York City. Stuart Seldowitz was later arrested.

Around 1,200 Israelis were killed and 240 others taken prisoner into Gaza on 7 October.

Israel’s response to the attacks has left over 14,500 Palestinians dead, including an estimated 6,000 children, according to the government media office.

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