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Anti-Israel protesters at Columbia claim they were sprayed with chemicals

Anti-Israel student demonstrators who marched through the campus of Columbia University on Friday claim they were sprayed with a chemical that reeked of “raw sewage and dead mouse.”

Members of the suspended university groups Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace have said that two unidentified men came up to them outside the Low Library and sprayed an unknown chemical — which caused them to experience headaches, fatigue, and nausea.

Maryam Iqbal, a freshman at Barnard, said she “started smelling this horrible smell” about halfway through the protest.

“I can only describe it as raw sewage and dead mouse,” she told The New York Times.

Of 24 students at the protest who were surveyed in the aftermath, 18 reported a putrid smell, 10 reported physical symptoms like burning eyes, headaches, and nausea — with three having to seek medical attention, and eight reported damage to their personal belongings, according to the school newspaper.

The students at the unsanctioned protest on Friday have since said they saw two men approach the group of protesters and flee the scene as the smell spread.

Maia, a Barnard College senior who was only identified by her first name, said she saw two people with their faces “pretty much all covered” by keffiyehs — the traditional Palestinian head scarf.

They stood out to her, she said, because their keffiyehs appeared to be a slightly different color and pattern from the black and white ones sold by student groups.

“I noticed them come up behind different people at the edges of the protest and [they] would stand there for like a second,” she recounted to the Columbia Spectator.

Eventually, Maia said she got close enough that she could hear and smell the spray.

“Once they were closest to me, behind someone that was near me, I heard a little spraying sound.”

She then said she noticed the two men walk away “and then it started smelling really bad.”

Layla Saliba, a 24-year-old Palestinian-American graduate student at Columbia’s School of Social Work, also described the two men as looking as if they wanted to get into a confrontation with the protesters, whom they called “terrorists.”

She then said she noticed the two men walk away “and then it started smelling really bad.”

She said they seemed “especially aggressive” toward students holding up signs saying “Jews for ceasefire,” who they called “self-hating Jews.”

Saliba later shared photos of the alleged suspects online, showing one man in a puffy orange jacket and sunglasses and another in dark clothing with an army-green Israeli flag hat.

still gathering evidence, does anyone have info about these individuals? I know the campus z*onists & I’ve never seen them before. They didn’t want to be photographed but kept confronting ppl. were wearing fake keffiyehs but took them off. Smell came from behind guy in orange.

She also said she started feeling fatigued and had headaches and nausea in the aftermath, and checked herself into an urgent care facility.

There, she said, the doctors diagnosed her with “exposure to a harmful chemical” and told her that she would have to miss class “for a few days” due to her “severe pain,” according to the Spectator.

She said she was still experiencing symptoms on Monday and could still smell the odor on her clothes and hair — even after nearly a dozen showers.

Meanwhile, Iqbal said she reported the incident to the college’s Public Safety Department on Sunday and showed personnel there a jacket she was wearing at the protest as evidence.

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