Syrian state media praised Druze villagers in the Israeli Golan Heights Tuesday for attacking an IDF ambulance they said was carrying two insurgents from forces fighting President Assad.
The Israeli army confirmed that one of the men in the ambulance was killed as a result of the attack it described as a “lynching.”
The incident in the Golan village of Majdal Shams overlooking Syrian territory was the second attack by Druze on an Israeli army ambulance in less than 24 hours. It reflected rising Druze agitation over what the community sees as Israel’s failure to help embattled Druze in Syria while offering medical aid to Syrian civilians and combatants who include anti-Assad fighters.
A report on SANA state news described the Druze villagers as “heroic Syrian young men” and identified the insurgents as members of the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Israeli military officials, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, insist that the Syrian victims were not affiliated with Nusra.
“There is no cooperation between Israel and Nusra Front,” Liberman told Army Radio. “There is no intention of [engaging in such cooperation]. It’s simply insane.”
Suspicions persist, however. Sheikh Muafiq Tarif, the Druze spiritual leader in Israel, told Army Radio on Tuesday that the community’s anger erupted following an Israeli media interview with one of the injured Syrians being treated in Israel. According to Tarif, the patient was a Syrian rebel who said that he was willing to return to the civil war and harm Druze.
“The wounded man said that he was going back to Syria to kill Druze,” Tarif said. “This should’ve sounded the alarm for everyone.” Tarif called for calm and condemned the attack on the ambulance.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military will be making unpublicized changes in the transport of casualties from Syria, which it plans to continue. In addition, it has requested more police in the area to prevent a repeat of Monday’s fatal incident.