Ambulance attacked in northern Israel by Druse protesters.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Haifa District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed an indictment against Kamal Amar, 22, and Yusef Sarif, 54, of the Druse village of Hurfeish for their alleged involvement in the June 22 attack on an IDF ambulance carrying wounded Syrians in an attempt to block the state from potentially helping Syrian rebels.
The two were charged with endangering lives on a public roadway.
According to the indictment, the ambulance left with an IDF reserve doctor and four soldiers transporting two wounded Syrians from the Filon military base near Safed to the Western Galilee Hospital, in Nahariya, around 1:00 a.m.
Around 1:30, the ambulance reached the Sultan Basha al-Atrash square in Hurfeish in the Upper Galilee where the incident occurred.
Northern District police said the villagers threw stones at the ambulance and as the vehicle fled the scene it was chased by two carloads of locals, but the ambulance crew managed to arrive safely at the police station in Ma’alot. The ambulance was then given a police escort to the Western Galilee Hospital.
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As the ambulance fled the scene it hit and injured a 54-year-old Hurfeish resident who was among those trying to block its path.
The attack for which the two men were indicted preceded a similar attack on an IDF ambulance by a Druse mob in Majdal Shams later in the same day in which a wounded Syrian was killed.
Over the past several weeks, because of reports that the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front in Syria’s southwest killed Syrian Druse, the Druse community in Israel has collected donations to send by way of Jordan to help their brethren. Druse leaders have spoken of widespread fears of an impending massacre of Druse by jihadists located in the Jabal-Druse region of the country, calling on Israel to provide assistance.
Many Druse accuse Israel of assisting Nusra by providing medical assistance to jihadists who arrive on the border seeking medical treatment. They have called for Israel to immediately stop the practice. The IDF maintains that their policy is to favor non-combatants and to provide assistance only to moderate rebel fighters.
Dolan Abu Saleh, the mayor of Majdal Shams, a Druse town located on the Golan Heights, told The Jerusalem Post that Israel has a policy to give humanitarian aid to all injured and this could lead the state to give aid to its enemies, such as Nusra Front.
“I trust Israel do the right thing with the Syrian Druse,” he said, adding that their Syrian brethren are not going through an easy time as is evident from their daily conversations with them.
Mendi Safadi – an Israeli Druse who has served as Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara’s chief of staff, and who has traveled in the region and met with Syrian opposition activists, told the Post that attacking the ambulance “hurts the Syrian Druse in Syria.”
“Israel knows what it is doing.
People coming to Israel are not jihadists. It is not the role of the Druse to decide the state’s policy, but the elected government,” he said.
Asked about conspiracy theories held by many Druse that Israel is cooperating with al-Qaida’s Nusra Front, Safadi responded that many Druse listen to Syrian regime media and are connected to related Facebook pages of President Bashar Assad’s government. These sources push the narrative that Israel is aiding Nusra Front and numerous Druse believe this.
The Druse are following the media in order to know what is going on with their families in Syria, he added.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.