Three Palestinian students attending US colleges shot in Vermont

Three Palestinian students attending US colleges shot in Vermont
Ramallah Friends School said three of its graduates had been shot – Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdel Hamid, and Tahseen Ahmed.
2 min read
26 November, 2023
The Palestinian foreign ministry has called on US authorities to hold those responsible to account [Douglas Sacha/Getty-file photo]

Three Palestinian students attending US colleges were shot on Saturday night in Burlington, Vermont, and were being treated for injuries on Sunday, according to the students' former school in the occupied West Bank.

Ramallah Friends School said in a Facebook post on Sunday that three of its graduates had been shot near the University of Vermont campus – Hisham Awartani, who attends Brown University in Rhode Island, Kinnan Abdel Hamid, who attends Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and Tahseen Ahmed, who attends Trinity College in Connecticut.

The school said all had survived, with varying severity of injuries.

"We extend our thoughts and prayers to them and their families for a full recovery, especially considering the severity of injuries – as Hisham has been shot in the back, Tahseen in the chest, and Kinnan with minor injuries," the Facebook post said.

Burlington Police said in a statement late on Saturday that officers had responded to calls of shots fired around 18:30 local time (23:30 GMT) on Saturday night and found two people injured at one location near the university campus and a third a short distance away.

Without identifying the victims, the police statement said the first two were treated on scene and then transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center by the fire department, and police brought the third to the same hospital.

Police had not identified nor apprehended the shooter, the statement said. A police spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Sunday.

The shooting comes as the US is witnessing a surge in Islamophobic and antisemitic incidents, including violent assaults and online harassment, since the Gaza war erupted on 7 October.

The students had been speaking Arabic and wearing the traditional Palestinian keffiyeh, a type of scarf, the Palestinian foreign ministry said on Sunday, calling on US authorities to hold those responsible to account.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a US-based advocacy organisation, called on state and federal law enforcement to investigate the shooting as a hate crime in a statement on Sunday.

"The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent," ADC national executive director Abed Ayoub said.