At least five Palestinian students were wounded on Monday when Hamas security forces cracked down on them during a demonstration over tuition fees at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

When the students staged a sit-in protest of a decision by university administration to make students who failed to pay tuition ineligible to sit for exams, university officials called the police, who beat at least five of the students.

The Palestinian Students’ Union in Gaza condemned the excessive use of force and accused the policemen of preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded students.

Sources close to Hamas alleged that the protest was initiated by students affiliated with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party.

Tensions have escalated between Hamas and Fatah in recent weeks, with P.A. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah narrowly escaping an assassination attempt in northern Hamas-controlled Gaza earlier this month.

Al-Azhar University has 14,000 students and more than 700 full-time staff members.