Three Palestinian college students have been shot and wounded in the US state of Vermont, in what is perceived to be an Islamophobic act amid unfaltering US support for the Israeli regime’s genocidal war against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Burlington Police said that officers responded to a call on Saturday evening and found two shooting victims, with the third a short distance away, all close to the University of Vermont campus.
One victim was reportedly shot in the back while another is said to have been shot in the chest and a third sustained minor injuries.
Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom identified the students as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdelhamid and Tahseen Ahmed.
He posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that each of the victims was wearing the Palestinian Keffiyeh when they were attacked, identifying them as “three young Palestinian men.”
“The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop. Palestinians everywhere need protection,” Zomlot wrote on X.
Meanwhile, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said in a news release that they “have reason to believe this shooting occurred because the victims are Arab.”
The ADC said the students were speaking Arabic when the gunman yelled at them and opened fire.
“The surge in anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment we are experiencing is unprecedented, and this is another example of that hate turning violent,” said ADC National Executive Director in a statement on Sunday.
Burlington Police Chief said the shooter or shooters have not been identified or apprehended, adding the police department is “at the earliest stages of investigating this crime.”
The shooting is part of a broader surge in hate crimes against Muslims and Arabs in the United States.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization reported receiving 1,283 requests for help and reports of bias from the beginning of October to early November, an increase of 216 percent compared to 2022.
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