Israel 'ready to protect' Druze village in Syria

Druze near the Israeli Syrian border

Israel 'ready to protect' Druze village in Syria

Nine people were killed and 23 injured in Khader after a vehicle exploded Friday morning.

Earlier in the day, Hader was attacked by a suicide bomber from the jihadist group Al Nusra. However, the IDF has responded with pinpoint strikes to occasional cross-border fire - both errant and intentional - in the Golan Heights and has reportedly bombed a number of Hezbollah-bound arms convoys and other targets in Syria tied to the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shia terror group in recent years.

"In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, terrorist groups carried out a heavy attack on Hader, and army units and the Popular Defense units (pro-government militias) clashed with the attackers", SANA added.

The Quneitra area of Syria, where Hader village is located, is particularly sensitive to Israel because it is adjacent to the Golan Heights area that it captured from Syria in 1967. Several dozens of them cut the border fence and crossed over in a bid to reach Khadr and defend it before they were apprehended and brought back by Israeli troops.

Damascus frequently accuses the Israeli army of backing jihadists who are engaged in bloody battles with regime forces across the country.

The agency said the toll was expected to rise because a number of those wounded in the bombing were in serious condition and the ongoing assault on the town made it hard to remove the injured to safety.

The Nusra Front is the old name for a rebel group that was formerly Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria known as the Jabhat Fateh al Sham.

Israeli army spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, said the military was ready to "prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied, as part of our commitment to the Druze population".

There are approximately 140,000 Druze in Israel, including 20,000 in the Golan Heights.

Speaking on a visit to London, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "We are also guarding our borders".

But the IDF statement reflected how the Druze are valued inside Israel as brethren by many Jews because thousands of them enlist in the IDF with the blessing of their communal leaders.

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