On March 31, Hamas sent operatives to storm Al Azhar and capture the
student administration. Witnesses said members of the Hamas-sponsored
Islamic Bloc raided the university, detained security guards and assaulted
teachers and students. At that point, the operatives began decorating the
university with Hamas flags and posters to memorialize Hamas founder Ahmed
Yassin, assassinated by Israel in 2003.
Al Azhar vice president Jaber El Da'our said he and several aides
responded to the Hamas takeover. When they arrived on campus, El Da'our
said, the Hamas operatives began harassing the university administrators.
"The teachers and I decided to stay away from them and their ceremony,"
El Da'our recalled. "However, they pursued us again and started to assault
us till we left campus. We demonstrated near the main university entrance;
however the police came and beat us and insulted us using gas to disperse
A university woman student said she was attacked by Hamas operatives on
campus. The student said she required hospitalization after she was sprayed
Hamas police acknowledged that university teachers and students were
attacked by officers. Hamas police commander Gen. Tawfiq Jaber said the
Fatah-aligned staffers and students had been blocking a main artery outside
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said the Hamas raid was part of
its campaign against the opposition Fatah movement. The center urged the
Hamas regime to maintain academic freedom in the Gaza Strip.
"PCHR calls upon all parties to keep universities and educational
institutions out of the ongoing power struggle between Fatah and Hamas," the