A UNIVERSITY committee representing Palestine has written to the vice chancellor of every university in the UK amid several high-profile academics' deaths in Gaza - including professor Refaat Alareer.

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BBICUP) sent a letter on December 6 signed by its chair Jonathan Rosenhead asking: "Is it not time that people such as yourself in positions of academic leadership spoke out?".

The letter cites the death of Professor Sufian Tayeh, president of the Islamic University of Gaza, "an internationally recognised physicist and applied mathematician". The letter states he was killed with his family on December 2.

It also mentions the death of professor Muhammad Eid Shabir, a microbiologist and Tayeh's predecessor of the university for 15 years.

The letter adds "many hundreds staff and students in Gaza have fallen victims to the bombardment".

This includes professor Refaat Alareer who was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday, his friend announced.

Palestinians are mourning the death of the well-known writer and literary scholar, who, it is understood, was killed in an air strike in Gaza City.

He had also taught literature at the university. Israel said the university was an "important Hamas operational, political and military centre in Gaza".

The National:

Alareer was one of the founders of "We Are Not Numbers", a Palestinian non-profit set up in 2015 to "tell the stories behind the numbers of Palestinians in the news".

He had declined to leave northern Gaza following the start of Israeli operations in the area, and two days before he wrote: "The building is shaking. The debris and shrapnel are hitting the walls and flying in the streets."

His friend Ahmed Alnaouq wrote on Twitter/X: "Refaat's assassination is tragic, painful and outrageous. It is a huge loss,"

The Literary Hub website also paid tribute to him, while author and journalist Ramzy Baroud wrote on X: "Rest in peace Refaat Alareer. We will continue to be guided by your wisdom, today and for eternity."

More than 200 academics at the University of Glasgow have signed an open letter calling for an immediate ceasefire - they include Dr Ophira Gamliel, a lecturer in South Asian religions, who helped write the letter, and Dr Giovanni Picker, a lecturer in sociology.

The open letter comes as the Israeli military said it is expanding its ground operation into “all areas” of the Gaza Strip, following the resumption of fighting.

It follows calls for a ceasefire by more than 250 British lawyers, including eminent KCs and professors of law, who said serious breaches of international law are being committed.