9 Druze-Israelis arrested in ambulance attacks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Nine Druze-Israelis were arrested in two attacks on ambulances carrying wounded Syrians to Israeli hospitals, including one that left a Syrian dead.

On Wednesday, Israel Police arrested five people from the village of Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights, where a mob of Druze-Israeli protesters on Monday night dragged two wounded Syrian fighters from the ambulance, beating one to death and seriously injuring the second.

The four others arrested are believed to have been involved in an attack earlier Monday on an ambulance driving by the Druze village of Hurfish, where residents blocked the path of the ambulance and threw stones at it.

The Druze attackers believed the injured men were members of Syrian rebel groups, which have been targeting Druze-Syrians living near the border with Israel as part of the country’s four-year civil war.

Israel treats wounded from the civil war in the field and at local hospitals regardless of what side they are fighting for. More than 1,600 wounded Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals during the civil war, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli defense officials were scheduled to meet Wednesday with Druze leaders to calm the situation. Druze leaders have already condemned the attacks.

Netanyahu called on “every Druze citizen of Israel to respect soldiers, law and order, and not to take the law into their own hands.”

The Israel Defense Forces has increased security for hospitalized Syrians.

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