Photo Credit: Andrew McIntire/TPS
The Syrian border with Israel. 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Breaking News: IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot led a group of senior IDF officials to the northern Golan Heights Friday, saying that the army is prepared to prevent a military takeover of the Syrian village of el-Hader, adjacent to the Israel-Syria border, and said Israel is ready to help residents of the Druze village. Eisenkot added that claims that Israel has provided aide to global jihad groups is “outrageous.”

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Eisenkot made the remarks during a visit to IDF positions in the Golan after a suicide bombing in el-Hader, a border town on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria frontier, claimed several lives. The army also said that one resident of Majdal Shams, the Druze town located adjacent to the border on the Israeli side, was was injured by stray fire from the fighting in Syria.

Defense officials have confirmed to TPS that IDF troops have been called to the northern Golan region in order to bolster forces there, and police spokespeople said police units have deployed around the north in order to protect Israeli residents.

Salman Fakherldeen, a founder of the al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Centre in the Golan Heights, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that some additional IDF troops arrived in the town overnight between Thursday and Friday, but said there has been a noticeable increase in the army’s presence in town in recent hours.

“There has been heavy fighting [in Syria] since early this morning,” Fakherldeen said. “Heavy artillery has been making a frightening amount of noise, and then there was an enormous explosion several hours ago. Six people were killed.”

Fakherldeen added that local residents have gathered at “Shouting Hill,” a field located on the outskirts of the town along the Israel-Syria border fence, but said he could not tell what they were demonstrating for or against.

*This is a developing story.

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