Police carried out pre-dawn swoops on students protesting the war in Gaza at two more prestigious US universities Friday, in the latest unrest on campuses across the country.

At least ten people were arrested at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) near Boston in the northeast, according to university president Sally Kornbluth, who said she had "no choice" but to dismantle the "high-risk flashpoint."

At the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, officers in tactical gear forcibly removed several dozen students who had linked arms around a statue of Benjamin Franklin, NBC reported.

Students did not resist arrest at either university and both actions appeared to have been relatively peaceful.

Kornbluth offered a timeline of the weeks of protest and negotiations on the MIT campus, culminating in warnings to the students and finally her decision to ask police to clear the encampment, which she described as a "last resort."

The encampment had pitted two sides at the university against one another, she wrote.

For the demonstrators, it "symbolized a moral commitment that trumped all other considerations, because of the immense suffering in Gaza."

But for those supporting Israel, it "delivered a constant assertion, through its signs and chants, that those who believe that Israel has a right to exist are unwelcome at MIT.

"As a result, the encampment became a flashpoint."

Student organizers remained defiant.

"You cannot suspend the movement. We will be back," they wrote on Instagram.

Police have arrested more than 2,000 people nationwide in the weeks of US campus unrest.

Students have been demonstrating against Israel's war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, and demanding their schools divest financially from US weapons manufacturers and Israeli entities.

Campus authorities have sought to support the right to protest, while acting against complaints of anti-Semitism and hate speech at the demonstrations.

In at least one incident, counter-protesters physically attacked demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Some of schools have struck deals with the students who have disbanded their encampments.

Other campuses have called in police, with striking images of officers in clashing with students helping to turn the protests into a political issue ahead of the presidential elections in November.