Two Golan Druze Charged With Murder of Wounded Syrian

The two residents of Majdal Shams were part of mob that pulled wounded Syrian militant out of ambulance last June and beat him to death.

Noa Shpigel
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The ambulance carrying wounded Syrian rebels that was attacked by a Druze mob on Monday, June 22, 2015.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Noa Shpigel

Two Israeli Druze from the town of Majdal Shams were charged Monday with the murder of a wounded Syrian militant who was being transferred to an Israeli hospital last month.

Bashira Mahmoud, 48, and Amal Abu Salah, 21, were among approximately 30 suspects arrested after a mob attacked a military ambulance carrying two wounded Syrians thought to be linked to a rebel organization that was targeting Syria's Druze as part of the civil war raging across the border.

Upon entering Majdal Shams en route to Kiryat Shmona, some 150 furious protesters from Golan Heights villages attacked the vehicle, pulled out the two wounded Syrians and beat one of them to death. The other wounded militant sustained serious wounds in the June attack.

Mahmoud and Abu Salah were indicted at the Nazareth District Court. According to the indictment, Abu Salah admitted to taking part in the attack and the police said that in a video recording of the event he was seen "mercilessly beating" the victim with a wooden plank.  Regarding Mahmoud, the indictment said the same video documented her "throwing stones" at the victim. The police requested both be held in custody until their legal proceedings reach an end, and said the investigation continues.

Bashira Mahmoud at court, Aug. 10, 2015. Credit: Gil Eliahu

The attack was preceded by another incident in Horfesh, when a small crowd attacked an ambulance and demanded to check whether the passengers on board belonged to the suspect rebel group.

Following the attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with leaders of Israel's Druze community in an effort to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

"Your sons, all of our sons, serve and fight in the IDF and defend the nation - which belongs to all of us," Netanyahu said. "All of us obey the law and all of us are loyal citizens, and if somebody breaks these rules, and takes the law into their own hands, it is our duty of course to condemn that and to make sure these lawbreakers will not turn such things to a norm."

Members of Israel's Druze minority watch fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in Druze village of Khader in Syria, from the Israeli Golan Heights, June 16, 2015.Credit: AP