Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One Syrian killed in Druze attack on IDF ambulance carrying wounded rebels

Protesters extract two wounded Syrians from military vehicle in northern Israel and beat them; two soldiers wounded, too.

The Israeli ambulance carrying Syrian rebels attacked by Druze, June 22, 2015. / Photo by Courtesy
By Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen

One Syrian militant was beaten to death and one was wounded in very serious-to-critical condition after Druze protesters attacked Monday night an Israel Defense Forces ambulance in northern Israel carrying Syrian members of armed militias wounded in the civil war there. Two Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded.

According to the IDF, the ambulance was accompanied by a military police escort following the Druze attack on an IDF ambulance earlier Monday. Upon entering Majdal Shams en route to Kiryat Shmona, approximately 150 furious protesters from Golan Heights villages in the Neve Ativ region, who attacked the vehicle.

According to one eyewitness, the protesters extracted two wounded Syrians from the ambulance and beat them. The IDF said it sent a military helicopter to evacuate the wounded Syrians, who are now in serious condition. The emergency rescue vehicle was also damaged.

A large deployment of Israeli police and military forces were called to the site, where they confronted the protesters.

The head of the Israeli Druze community, Sheikh Mowafak Tariq, strongly condemned the attack, saying "this is not our way, and we're in pain over what happened. This is a criminal act, carries out by lawless people and the authorities must act."

This is the second time in 24 hours that protesters have struck an ambulance carrying wounded Syrians. Early Monday, Druze residents from the village of Horfish in northern Israel attacked a military ambulance carrying wounded Syrians, demanding to check whether the passengers on board belonged to a rebel organization that has been targeting Druze in the civil war across the border.

Most of the Druze in the Golan Heights do not enlist in the army, though their brethren in the Galilee and the Carmel do serve, and the situation of the Druze community in Syria often raises questions of loyalty among the community in Israel.

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