Students flee Israeli bombs

July 21, 2006

Lebanon's universities have closed and international students and faculty are being evacuated to escape Israel's air and sea bombardments.

The American University of Beirut has cancelled classes until further notice. More than 200 of the 0 students on the university's summer Arabic programme were international students.

Caroline Chalouhi, director of international student affairs, said the attacks had had a "terrible impact" on the AUB. Many students have already left.

The university planned to evacuate students who were unable to contact their embassies by the end of the week.

Lebanese American University campuses in Beirut and the coastal town of Byblos were open, but classes and entrance exams have been cancelled.

Manal Nejem, a Lebanese University student, said: "I am very angry. The dates for my final exams have been postponed, and I am not sure whether I will be able to go on to do a masters in Canada."

In northern Israel, the University of Haifa closed and students and staff headed for bomb shelters, as Hezbollah unleashed its Katyusha rockets.

Israeli Defence Force air strikes on Gaza have compounded the financial problems the three universities there have been experiencing as a result of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

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