SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 07, 2024

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University College of Science and Technology, Palestine

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 7, 2024, Israeli forces damaged the University College of Science and Technology, located south of Khan Yunis, in an airstrike.

The shelling took place after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023; an attack during which over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals were killed and more than 200 abducted. As of mid- February 2024, the Israeli military’s subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip has reportedly killed more than 29,000 Palestinians.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about attacks on universities. Parties to a conflict may only attack legitimate military targets; where a party suspects that a civilian facility—such as a university building—is being used for military purposes, that party has a duty to take every action practicable to verify that this suspicion is correct before initiating an attack. In the event of such an attack, parties must take all practicable precautions to avoid or minimize damage to civilian facilities. Likewise, parties must refrain from using higher education facilities for military purposes during active conflict. Further, parties must refrain from launching attacks which may be expected to cause disproportionate damage to civilian facilities.