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Dozens injured in Israeli raid on West Bank university

Students treated for rubber bullet wounds and tear gas inhalation, Red Crescent says, as Israeli forces shut down protests at al-Quds University
Israeli border guards stand outside Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, a West Bank suburb of Jerusalem, close to the separation wall during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators on 2 November 2015 (AFP)

More than 21 Palestinian students were shot with rubber-coated bullets and dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, after the Israeli army raided the al-Quds University’s campus in the town of Abu Dis on Monday.

Students had gathered at the foot of the separation barrier, which cuts off the town from Jerusalem, to protest against Israeli measures. The protests also marked 40 days since the killing of one student, Dia Talahmah, from Hebron by the Israeli army.

Talahmah was killed on 21 September after the Israeli army said that an improvised explosive device he was carrying exploded prematurely in his face. Palestinian medical sources said that he was shot dead.  

During Monday’s clashes, at least one protester used a sledge hammer to strike the wall as others milled around carrying Palestinian flags or covering their faces with traditional keffiyeh scarfs, the AFP news agency reported.

The students then pulled back into the campus and rained stones on the Israeli border police who approached the gates.

Israeli forces retaliated by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades before forcing open the gates of the university and going inside.

"The policemen entered firing grenades left and right," one of the students told the AFP news agency.

"They fired at us with rubber bullets, aiming for the torso and the head," he added, declining to be identified.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that more than 21 Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets and more than 40 suffered excessive tear gas inhalation.

Witnesses told the Palestinian Maan News Agency that Israeli soldiers stormed the campus, firing tear gas inside university buildings, damaging property, and turning the campus into a "battlefield".

The clashes follow weeks of Palestinian-Israeli violence that has raised fears of a third intifada.

More than 70 Palestinians and ten Israelis have been killed in the surge of unrest which erupted at the beginning of October in Jerusalem.

Around half of the Palestinians who have died were killed while allegedly attacking, or trying to attack, Israelis.

One of the students who protested on Monday said it was in response to the high number of Palestinian deaths in recent weeks.

"Many people lost their lives for their country, for their nation and for the intifada. So, we decided to do our best to oppose the separation wall. It is our responsibility," said Amanda Manasra.