Police Arrest Three More Druze Over Attack on IDF Ambulance Carrying Wounded Syrians

After Netanyahu meets with leaders of Israel's Druze community and urges them to 'obey the law,' police continue to search for those behind lethal Golan attack.

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
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Scene of the violent Druze attack on a military ambulance in the Golan Heights, Monday, June 23, 2015.
Scene of the violent Druze attack on a military ambulance in the Golan Heights, Monday, June 23, 2015.Credit: Gil Eliyahu
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

Police arrested three additional suspects late Wednesday for their alleged role in an attack on an Israel Defense Forces ambulance carrying wounded Syrians to treatment in Israel some two days ago.

The assailants were Druze residents of the Golan, protesting Israel’s treatment of Syrians, including those belonging to groups involved in fighting with Syria's Druze community. The mob attack on the ambulance in Majdal Shams last Monday night left one Syrian dead and another critically wounded.

Police forces have arrested eight suspects in all for the Majdal Shams incident and four others were held for their role in an attack that took place earlier in the village of Horfesh, which left no casualties; their remand was extended by six days.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with leaders of Israel's Druze community on Wednesday to discuss the tensions surrounding the recent events in the Golan Heights. Also present were Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino.

Netanyahu stressed the need to prevent the recurrence of events such as happened on Monday, in which sever IDF soldiers were also wounded.

"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."

Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the leader of Israel's Druze community, thanked the prime minister and told him that the entire Druze public was united against lawbreakers in the Galilee and the Golan Heights, and reiterated his concern over the fate of the Syrian Druze – especially those living in the town of Khader, which is currently at the center of ongoing hostilities.

In the first incident in Horfesh on Monday, a small crowd attacked the ambulance, demanding to check whether the passengers on board belonged to a rebel organization that has been targeting Druze in the civil war in Syria. In the second incident Monday night in Majdal Shams, one Syrian rebel was killed after being attacked by a mob, and a second man was also critically wounded.

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