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UCLA finally asks for FBI help — but to investigate pro-Israel supporters

UCLA has reached out to the FBI as part of its investigation into a group of pro-Israel counter-protesters who allegedly attacked an anti-Israel campus encampment last week.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Chancellor Gene Block says the college has contacted the FBI and the LA District Attorney's Office about investigating a group of pro-Israel counter-protesters who allegedly attacked an anti-Israel campus encampment, sparking hours of violent clashes. 

Hundreds of anti-Israel agitators set up an encampment on UCLA's campus in Royce Quad last month to demand that the university divest from companies and institutions linked to Israel.

However, early Wednesday morning, a group of about 100 pro-Israel counter-protesters arrived at UCLA's campus and clashed with the anti-Israel agitators there, resulting in fights breaking out and fireworks being shot at encampment demonstrators while other items were also thrown as part of the chaos. 

After about three hours without police intervention, Los Angles Mayor Karen Bass ordered the LAPD to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies and break up the protest.

UCLA STUDENT SLAMS UNIVERSITY FOR 'ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE,' TURNING CAMPUS INTO 'WAR ZONE': 'THIS IS A DISGRACE'

Block had said that the encampment was unlawful and a breach of policy, leading to unsafe conditions on campus. 

Now, UCLA has launched an investigation into the pro-Israel group who attacked the unlawful encampment. 

"A group of instigators came to Royce Quad and violently attacked students, faculty and staff members who were encamped to advocate for Palestinian rights," Block said in a statement Monday.

"This was a truly despicable act, and in my message to the campus the following day, I committed to finding those responsible and bringing them to justice. This remains an important priority."

He said that the university and its police force are leading the investigation, which involves sifting through security footage from the night and speaking to witnesses who were present. He called on other witnesses to come forward.

The LAPD is also involved in the probe while the FBI has been contacted about assisting too, Block said, although it is unclear what role, if any, the FBI will play. Fox News Digital requested comment from the FBI but did not receive a response prior to publication.

CALIFORNIA STATE OFFICIALS CONDEMN VIOLENT ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS AT UCLA

Block says the university has also spoken to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to solicit help in "ensuring that the instigators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

He also said that a new Office of Campus Safety has been created to review UCPD’s response to the attacks. A broader assessment of all acts of violence on campus during the anti-Israel protests is also being looked at. 

"Holding the instigators of this attack accountable and enhancing our campus safety operations are both critical. Our community members can only learn, work and thrive in an environment where they feel secure," Block said. 

The news comes just days after the police union representing officers at University of California schools criticized UCLA administrators for the "lack of response" to the violence that broke out on campus. The union has called for an independent investigation into the response.

"UC administrators are solely responsible for the university’s response to campus protests, and they own all the fallout from those responses," Federated University Police Officers Association president Wade Stern said in a press release on Saturday.

Law enforcement initially stood by while the violence unfolded early Wednesday, according to Fox 11. Local police in riot gear did not respond to the scene until hours later.

Photos and videos online captured a glimpse of the chaos on UCLA's campus as they showed people throwing chairs, using sticks and weapons to beat each other and shoving and kicking one another. Firecrackers were also tossed into groups of people and pepper spray was deployed at various times.

Law enforcement eventually moved in and cleared the encampment and more than 200 protesters were arrested.

Students told Fox 11 they were frustrated about the lack of response by the university. One security guard on campus said UCLA "could have stopped this a long time ago."

Fox News’ Landon Mion and Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report. 

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