A mob of Israeli Druze attacked an IDF ambulance transporting wounded Syrians for medical treatment in the Golan Heights Monday evening, killing one of the Syrians.
Israeli media reports called the attack as a lynch as tensions along Israel’s northern border intensify.
Two Syrians were brought into Israel in life threatening condition and hurt further in the attack. One of the Syrians died from his wounds while the second remains in critical condition. Two IDF soldiers were lightly injured.
Initial reports said the Syrians were rebel fighters belonging to the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, but the IDF has denied those claims.
IDF spokesman Motti Almoz said Israel “has not provided aid to the Nusra Front over the past four years, since the civil war in Syria began.”
“We help wounded Syrians who arrive at our border and give them medical treatment,” he added. Almoz called the attack “very grave” and said “we are appealing for calm and we wish those injured a speedy recovery.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, warning that he would not allow citizens to “take the law into their own hands.”
“We will not let [residents] interfere with IDF soldiers’ duty to carry out their mission,” he stated.
Following the attack, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot convened an emergency meeting. “It’s inconceivable that IDF soldiers and [Syrian] wounded are attacked by Israeli citizens,” he told the media.
The attack was carried out by Druze villagers angry over the treatment of the Syrian Druze community at the hands of Syrian jihadists. The ambulance was being escorted by an IDF jeep near the town of Majdal Shams when it was attacked by the mob, who thought a Syrian jihadist rebel was being taken for treatment.
הדרוזים ביצעו לינץ בפצועים הסורים. התמונות קשות. מצבם קשה. pic.twitter.com/98qIcDzYs4
— Guy Varon (@guyvaron) June 22, 2015
Syria’s official news agency praised Monday evenings attack on the IDF ambulance, calling the mob of Druze “heroes.” The Assad mouthpiece Syrian Arab News Agency claimed that those on board the ambulance were Al Nusra fighters and confirmed that Israel routinely provides medical care to Syrian Islamists.
“Two terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra were Killed Monday when heroes of the occuped Golan confronted a Zionist ambulance which was transporting them to receive treatment at one of the Israeli entity’s hospitals,” the report said.
“Following the incident, locals of Majdal Shams village took to the street denouncing Israeli occupation entity’s logistics and military support to armed terrorists,” the report added.
Earlier on Monday, an ambulance was stoned by residents of the Israeli-Druze village of Hurfeish believing that rebels were inside.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, Israel has been covertly treating injured Syrians at Israeli hospitals and IDF field hospitals. While the number of Syrians treated by Israel remains a secret, countless lives have been saved.