by David Rosenberg
IDF pledges to intervene in Syrian civil war to 'prevent capture, occupation' of Druze town by rebel forces after suicide bomber kills 9.
Fighting near Druze town of Hader in Golan
The Israeli army said Friday that fighting has escalated in and around the town of Hader on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Hader, a Druze town, has backed President Assad’s regime, making it a target for rebel forces, including the radical Al Nusra Islamist movement, which is seeking to gain a foothold in the Syrian Golan.
A suicide car bomber killed at least 9 people in Hader Friday, AFP reported, with another 23 injured. The Syrian SANA media outlet blamed the Al Nusra movement for the bombing.
Senior IDF officials pledged Thursday afternoon to intervene on Hader’s behalf and to protect its inhabitants from rebel forces.
Israel, said Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, is prepared to act “to prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied as part of our commitment to the Druze population.”
Manelis also denied “claims of Israeli involvement or help to global Jihadi elements in the fighting.”
The Druze, a small stateless ethno-religious community spread across Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel, have often suffered persecution at the hands of despots and radical Islamists in the region. The 145,000 Druze citizens of Israel are by and large loyal to the state, with most Druze men enlisting in the IDF and even serving in high IDF positions. Not a few have given their lives for the state..
Druze tradition calls for being loyal to whoever rules the area in which they reside and Druze in the past even spawned terrorists such as Lebanese Druze Samir Kuntar who carried out the barbaric terror attack against the Haran family in Nahariya. However, the family ties between Israeli and Syrian Druze are many and trump those factors.
One Druze resident of Israel was wounded Friday morning by stray gunfire from the Syrian side of the border.
The victim, a resident of Majdal Shams in the Israeli Golan Heights, was lightly wounded in the incident and was treated at the scene.
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