Golan Druse suspected of attacking IDF

Three youths allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at IDF patrols.

idf humvee 88 (photo credit: )
idf humvee 88
(photo credit: )
Three teenage residents of the Golan Heights Druse village Majdal Shams have been arrested on suspicion of throwing petrol bombs at IDF troops while they were on patrol in an armored vehicle along the border with Syria. They were detained near the beginning of October but the matter was only officially announced on Monday following the lifting of a court imposed publicity ban. The three were allegedly members of a local cell and they were responsible also for putting ladders against the security fence to test the response time of IDF troops. The majority of the Golan Heights Druse refused to accept Israeli identity cards when the Knesset in 1981 extended Israeli law to the region that was captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. The Druse residents of the four main villages on the Golan Heights, Majdal Shams, Ma'asada, Buka'ata and Ein Kinyia, have marked the anniversary of their struggle against what they described as Israeli occupation of the Golan ever since that date. There have been flare-ups and violent demonstrations in the past, although the last serious incident of insurrection occurred some two years ago. On that occasion, four Druse residents of the Golan Heights allegedly coordinated with Hamas in, what proved to be an abortive attempt, to kidnap IDF soldiers and hand them over to Hizbullah to be used as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinians. The teenagers arrested early in October allegedly started by disturbing the security fence to assess the IDF's response and then grew bolder by using firebombs against IDF soldiers on patrol in vehicles. The three were caught by members of the Golan police and the Galilee district Criminal Investigations Department and were later questioned by senior officers, as well as members of the Shin Bet. They reportedly admitted to the offenses and were remanded in custody by the Acre magistrate's court, which also imposed the publicity ban that was only lifted when the suspects were indicted at the Nazareth district court on Monday. They were charged with committing acts against the security of the State and were remanded in custody pending trial. Senior police officers said the suspects had apparently tried to attack IDF targets using the petrol bombs after they had carefully assessed the situation and response of troops. The inquiry started after a firebomb was hurled at an IDF vehicle that was patrolling the border with Syria. There were no casualties in the incident but police initiated inquiries. The three teenagers were arrested shortly afterwards and allegedly admitted to the incident and two other cases of throwing petrol bombs at IDF patrol vehicles with the aim of harming the soldiers. A senior Galilee district detective said the three had admitted putting ladders against the security fence in the Majdal Shams area to check the response time of IDF troops. "Afterwards they plucked up their courage and threw petrol bombs at IDF patrol vehicles and did the same again before they were arrested," said the senior police officer.