Rare Syrian suicide attack drives IDF to offer help
After 9 Syrians are killed in suicide terror attack in Syrian village of Hader, and one Israeli is injured from spillover shooting, IDF states 'we are ready to help the Druze and prevent the occupation of Hader'; Dozens of Druze Israelis cross border into Syria following attack, with the IDF retrieving them within minutes.
Nine Syrian residents were killed and 23 were wounded by a rare suicide attack on Friday near the Syrian-Israeli border, this according to Damascus-based Arab news agency SANA. As a result of the attack, an Israeli citizen from the Druze village of Majdal Shams was lightly injured and subsequently treated for his injuries. The attack took place in the Syrian village of Hader, which is close to the Druze-Israeli town of Majdal Shams.
The village of Hader sits within the Quneitra Governate, considered to be one of President Bashar al-Assad's military strongholds in the Syrian Golan Heights. According to unconfirmed reports, a car bomb was used in the attack.
After opening trading at the London Stock Exchange, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the position Israel is taking in light of the heated hostilities within Syria.
Netanyahu stated that Israel will continue to protect its borders in the north and south, while maintaining sympathy to "our Druze Brethren."
Druze MK Akran Hasson (Kulanu) claimed that the attack included some 150 Jabhat al-Nusra militants and confirmed that it indeed included a car bomb.
"Four of those killed are my family members, the Hasson family, which is the largest in the village," said Hasson. There are dozens more who are wounded.
"People have to understand that these are murderers who are massacring their own people," continued Hasson. "I've said it before to the army and the government: each one these groups (involved in the internal Syrian conflict), who we used to believe in, eventually turned their guns toward us (the Druze population). They cannot be trusted.
"I know that Assad's army is also using the Druze population for its own interests. We're counting on the IDF, this is our country, but the citizens in Hader are our brothers, they're family. We cannot allow them to bet hurt."
In a highly unusual turn of events, the IDF issued a statement in light of the attack, saying it was willing to aid the Druze residents of Hader, who are currently fighting to prevent the Assad's Syrian army from overtaking the South Syria village.
"Over the past six years, there has been internal fighting in Syria. Israel's policy is very clear—we do not interfere in the fighting or assist either side, while offering humanitarian and medical aid to local residents of the Syrian Golan Heights to ease their suffering. We do not and will not assist terrorism organizations in the Golan in any way," said IDF Arabic Spokesperson, Maj. Avichai Adraee.
"In the last few hours, there has been substantial fighting in the area of the village of Hader. Despite lies spread by parties with a personal stake in the matter, Israel is not and will not assist any terrorist group in hurting the village's residents. On the contrary—we will continue to stand by the Druze living in the (Syrian—ed) Golan Heights."
After hearing that their family members had been killed in Hader, hundreds of Druze citizens from the Israeli town of Majdal Shams and the area began rioting: after gathering at the Shouting Hill on the Israeli side of the border with Syria—used to communicate with Syrian family members and other residents standing on the other side of the border—before reaching the border fence and damaging it.
Dozens of Druze Israelis crossed the border into Syria following the attack. The IDF retrieved them within minutes. Druze protestors also damaged the border fence.
Syria has been torn apart by a civil war waged between the Assad's Syrian army and rebel forces opposing his totalitarian regime since 2011. Israel has repeatedly stated it will not interfere in the internal Syrian struggle, though it does offer humanitarian aid as well as medical care to Syrian refugees who manage to reach the border.
A relatively large village, Hader is in actuality under control of the IDF, which monitors it using posts on Mt. Hermon and tanks stationed directly facing it. Two years ago, IDF Northern Command went as far as to prepare offense plans for it to carry out operations within Hader itself, if the need should arise.
Following the deadly attack, Adraee announced that "the IDF is closely monitoring the developments in the town of Hader."
The number of casualties in the attack is expected to rise due to the severe injuries sustained by those hurt in it, and the continued shooting and rocket fire launched by terrorist group al-Nusra Front, which is making it difficult to rescue any survivors.
Earlier Friday, the rebel forces fighting Assad announced a military operation called 'Breaking the Palace Shackles,' aimed at relieving some of the pressure put by Assad's army on the nearby Druze-Syrian village of Beir Jann, located close to the border with Israel. The rebels called on their supporters to help in the struggle against the Syrian army. It is estimated that Friday's suicide attack was part of the attempt to strike at Assad's army.
Hassan Shalan and Ahiya Raved contributed to this article.