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Suspected Hate Crime Leaves Three Palestinian American Students Injured in Vermont Shooting

Authorities in Vermont are investigating a potential hate crime after three Palestinian college students were shot on Saturday evening in downtown Burlington. The victims were approached by a white male with a handgun who shot them without speaking, hitting them multiple times before fleeing.

The Burlington Police Department confirmed that all three victims were hospitalized, with one in serious condition. A suspect, Jason J. Eaton, has been arrested in connection with the shooting and will be arraigned on Monday.

The victims have been identified as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdalhamid, and Tahseen Ahmed. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) believes that the students were targeted because of their Palestinian identity.

The parents of the victims issued a statement expressing their devastation and calling for a thorough investigation, including the consideration of a hate crime.

The ADC stated that the three men, who are students at Brown University, Haverford College, and Trinity College, had gathered in Burlington for the Thanksgiving holiday.

They were wearing kaffiyehs, traditional Arab scarves associated with Palestinians, when the attack occurred. The ADC believes that the shooting was motivated by the victims being Arab, but the Burlington police have not confirmed this information.

Credit: DepositPhotos

Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad acknowledged the possibility that the attack was motivated by hate and stated that preparations are being made for a potential hate crime investigation.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger also emphasized the prioritization of the hate crime angle in the investigation. This incident follows an increase in threats against Arab, Jewish, and Muslim communities in response to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Read More: Palestinian Farmer Killed in Gaza Refugee Camp on Third Day of Truce

The Justice Department is already investigating a previous hate crime involving the killing of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy and the injury of his mother by an Illinois man.

The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has caused tensions worldwide, and some US lawmakers have made controversial statements that may contribute to a hostile environment.

Basil Awartani, a cousin of one of the victims, suggested that the shooting in Vermont may be a consequence of dangerous rhetoric from US politicians and right-wing pundits.

Credit: DepositPhotos

The ADC has been in contact with the parents of the victims and is offering support. Abed Ayoub, the ADC’s national executive director, revealed that Hisham Awartani has a bullet lodged in his spine and that the extent of the damage is still unknown. Another victim suffered lung damage, while the third is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

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In response to the incident, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement offering a $10,000 reward for information about the shooting. A Palestinian high school in the West Bank, where the victims had previously attended, expressed its solidarity with the injured students.

Read Next: Biden Raises Concerns of Sanctions for Israeli Settlers Attacking Palestinians in West Bank

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!