Photo Credit: Ronen Manelis' Facebook page
IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis with local Druze at the Syrian border

The IDF spokesman said on Friday that Israel would prevent the occupation of the Druze village Hader neat Quneitra in southern Syria, near the border with Israel, “out of a commitment to the Druze population there.” This after a car bomb had exploded in the village Friday morning, killing nine locals and injuring 23. Later on Friday, a resident of Majdal Shams, a Druze town in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon, under Israeli control, was lightly wounded by small arms fired from Syrian territory.

Tahrir al-Sham, a Salafist jihadist militant group, claimed responsibility for the car bomb.

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Some 150 Druze have been demonstrating alongside the northern border fence in protest of the vicious attack on Druze civilians.

Druze cleric Ali Maadi on Friday morning called on all Druze to reach the Golan Heights and offer their help. “The hour of truth has come, our brothers in the village are surrounded, we have to protect our brothers,” Maadi urged his followers.

Israel Police said that following the fighting in the Syrian region and as part of the preparations by the Israeli police in the northern Golan Heights, Police forces have been deployed along a number of traffic arteries in the north.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said that the incident was a result of the internal fighting being waged in the Syrian Golan Heights. It also said that the Chief of Staff, the Commander of the Northern Command, and the commander of the Bashan division have held an assessment of the situation following Friday’s fighting.

“The IDF is prepared and ready to help the villagers and prevent damage or occupation of the village out of commitment to the Druze population,” the statement said, adding that “the claims of Israeli involvement and assistance to global jihad elements in the fighting on the Golan Heights are groundless.”

The Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front announced that it was launching a campaign “to lift the siege on the villages in the Golan Heights and the Syrian Hermon.” The group stated that it had no intention of harming the residents of Hader village and their property, nor “anyone who does not intervene in the war.”

Al-Nusra Front warned Druze residents not to fight alongside the regime and warned them against the consequences of such support.

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