Israeli police arrest nine more Druze suspects over ‘lynching’ of Syrian
Israel police said Tuesday that they have arrested nine more suspects in connection with an attack last month by members of Israel’s Druze community on military ambulances transporting wounded Syrians to a hospital, the Hebrew-language media reported.
One Syrian man was beaten to death and a second was wounded in the June 22 attack on the ambulance. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident a “lynching.”
“This operation … seeks to to bring to justice all those who took part in [last month’s] difficult event,” the police said in a statement, adding that all nine hailed from Druze villages in the Golan Heights.
Two soldiers were wounded in the incident while trying to protect the Syrians. Both soldiers were also members of the Druze community, according the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
A gag order has been imposed on all other details of the investigation.
The leader of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, strongly denounced the attack.
The incident took place hours after Druze residents in the Galilee blocked and stoned a military ambulance they suspected was taking Syrian rebels to the hospital.
Israel does not rule out the possibility that some of those given medical care are rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Syria has said the two men in the ambulance were members of Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. Israel says they were civilians.
The Druze are a secretive offshoot of Shiite Islam. Officials say there are 110,000 of them in northern Israel and another 20,000 on the Golan Heights.
By Avi Lewis
AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.