Massachusetts

UMass Amherst student accused of punching Jewish student, spitting on Israeli flag

School officials said a Hillel staff member stepped in to de-escalate the situation. A police report was filed, and the student was arrested

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A student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is accused of assaulting a Jewish student and spitting on an Israeli flags last week after a demonstration on campus that called for the return of the hostages being held by Hamas, according to school officials.

The student approached the crowd on Friday and "aggressively" gave them the "middle finger," wrote UMass Hillel on its website. When the event ended, that student allegedly returned and punched a Jewish student who was holding an Israeli flag.

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The student then allegedly "took the flag and spit on it."

School officials said a Hillel staff member stepped in to de-escalate the situation. A police report was filed, and the student was arrested. Their name wasn't immediately released.

UMass Hillel said that while there's no ongoing security threat, it will continue to increase security out of abundance of caution. The school is also encouraging students to walk in groups at night and not to engage in counter-protests.

Additional resources will be available to students who need support, said the university.

According to The Associated Press, there are about 240 hostages that were seized by Hamas in its Oct. 7 raid. So far, the month-old war has killed more than 9,700 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. About 1,400 Israelis have died, mostly civilians.

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