Multiple Columbia University students have filed for assault after allegedly being hit with a ‘chemical stink bomb’ at a New York rally calling for a ceasefire in Gaza . NYPD told DailyMail.com that six students complained of being attacked with an ‘unknown substance’ which was ‘sprayed into the air’ at the protest organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) on Friday.
Students have described the ‘nightmare’ experience online, saying two male Israeli pupils were behind the attack and they targeted Jewish protesters. Many were hospitalized with a mysterious sickness for days afterwards. NYPD confirmed the first report came from a 24-year-old woman who said she ‘smelled an unknown odor, began to feel nauseated and experienced a burning sensation in her eyes’.
She filed a complaint with police on Saturday afternoon, and five more followed on Sunday evening. The department said there have not been any arrests and the investigation is ongoing. Alleged victims have said Israeli students, who are also IDF soldiers, were behind the attack and that they used a ‘ chemical weapon ‘ known as ‘skunk’. A Palestinian-American social work graduate at Columbia identified as Layla said ‘many’ Jewish students at the rally were also targeted with the ‘stink bombs’.
‘We were sprayed at with chemical weapons,’ she said. ‘Many Jewish students, especially those in CU Jews for Ceasefire, were directly targeted. Some of them are in the hospital.’ Layla said the perpetrators ‘repeatedly yelled’ at the Jewish protesters, calling them ‘self-hating Jews’ and ‘terrorists’. The student added that she was still ‘throwing up’ and feeling ‘terrible’ more than 72 hours after the attack. ‘Skunk has not come out of my hair after 11 showers,’ she said.
Describing the experience as a ‘nightmare’, she shared four photographs of anonymous students in the hospital, wearing medical wristbands and heart monitors. Another student said she was among those who went to hospital because her symptoms ‘have not subsided’. ‘Still experiencing nausea, burning eyes, headaches, and irritation of my nose,’ she said. ‘When will Columbia take action against these men?’
Columbia University has issued a statement saying it is ‘working with local and federal authorities, with NYPD in the lead, to investigate incidents of great concern reported in connection with a protest on January 19’. It added that two suspected perpetrators have been banned from campus amid the police probe. The suspects have been widely identified online as two Caucasian men aged in their twenties who were wearing dark cargo pants, puffer jackets and caps at the protest. SJP and JVP, the groups who organized the demonstration on Friday, said ‘dozens’ of students have spoken about the attack and the ‘foul smell left on them even after the initial burst of stench at the protest’.
Calling for an investigation by the university and blasting the attack as a ‘hate crime’, the groups wrote on Instagram: ‘We demand that Columbia start taking the constant hateful attacks on its students seriously before – to be blunt – one of us is killed’. They described skunk as ‘a foul-smelling liquid that has been described as a cross between “dead animal and human excrement”.’ ‘Students are traumatized, sick, and have hospital bills to cover in addition to schoolwork. This is unacceptable,’ the groups said in a second post on Monday.
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the alleged attack on Saturday. ‘The alleged use of a chemical agent on the grounds of a college campus in NYC is beyond heinous, ‘ executive director Afaf Nasher said in a statement.
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