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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BURLINGTON, Vermont — Three Palestinian college students were shot in Burlington, Vermont, on Saturday evening, according to police.
The 20-year-old men are all receiving medical care, according to a Sunday police news release. “Two are stable, while one has sustained much more serious injuries.”
The students were walking on Prospect Street while visiting a relative in Burlington for the Thanksgiving holiday when “they were confronted by a white man with a handgun,” says the release.
“Without speaking, he discharged at least four rounds from the pistol and is believed to have fled on foot,” police said.
Police said that two of the victims are US citizens and one is a legal resident.
Two of the three students were wearing keffiyehs, traditional Palestinian scarves, according to the police department. Two were shot in the torso and one in the “lower extremities.”
Authorities said that “there is no additional information to suggest the suspect’s motive.”
Detectives recovered ballistic evidence from the shooting, which will be submitted to a federal database, according to Burlington police.
The FBI said Sunday it was “prepared to investigate” the incident.
Police Chief Jon Murad said in an earlier news release that officers responded to a call and found two shooting victims, with the third a short distance away, all close to the University of Vermont campus.
The victims were transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center, the news release said.
The shooter or shooters have not been identified or apprehended, Murad said, and the police department is “at the earliest stages of investigating this crime.”
The three students had graduated from Ramallah Friends School, a Quaker-run private nonprofit school in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, according to the school.
The school identified the students in a Facebook post as Hisham Awartani, Kinnan Abdelhamid and Tahseen Ahmed.
According to Ramallah Friends School, all three are students at American colleges.
Haverford College in Pennsylvania confirmed in a statement that Abdelhamid, a junior at the college, is recovering from gunshot wounds at a hospital.
US Sen. Bernie Sanders described the shootings as “shocking and deeply upsetting” in a post on X. “Hate has no place here, or anywhere. I look forward to a full investigation,” he wrote.
Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom, posted on X about the incident, naming the students and identifying them as “three young Palestinian men.”
“The hate crimes against Palestinians must stop. Palestinians everywhere need protection,” Zomlot wrote on X.
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 Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it was offering a $10,000 reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators” of the shooting.
The shooting comes amid heightened tensions and hate crimes in the US in the weeks since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a deadly attack in Israel and Israel responded with devastating airstrikes across Gaza.
In October, a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy was stabbed to death by his family’s landlord in a case authorities are calling a hate crime.
CNN has reached out to the University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the students’ universities and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. — CNN
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