Israel Warns Nusra Front against Seizing Khodr Town in Golan

Facebook pageIDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis with local Druze at the Syrian border

The Israel Defense Forces will prevent the village of Khadr, near its northern border, from being run over by the militants "out of a commitment to the Druze population", the IDF said in a highly unusual statement of allegiance to a group that is seen as loyal to Syria's contested president, Bashar Assad.

Violence by Islamist rebels against Syria's Druze minority has been controversial within Israel, which has its own Druze minority, and this appears to have convinced Israel to change its position, at least in this one village's case.

Fighting broke out between Syrian government troops and rebel fighters in Hader following the blast, leaving a Druze individual injured in the village of Majdal Shams on the Israel-occupied side. Syrian news agency SANA reported that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front was responsible for the attack, adding that army units and pro-government militias clashed with those responsible following the incident.

Hader, a town just inside Syrian territory, is reportedly being targeted by the Nusra Front, formally known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

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In a rare statement, an Israeli security official said that Israel "does not interfere in the Syrian war, but it finds itself strongly committed to the Druze sect".

The IDF statement was issued in the wake of heavy fighting in Khader on Friday morning.

Israeli soldiers close a road near the border in the Golan Heights in order to prevent Druze residents from crossing into Syria after a suicide bombing in the Druze Syrian village of Hader on November 3, 2017.

The PA ministry's statement reflects the opinion of the Syrian government, which accuses Israel of supporting terrorist groups in Syria.

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In a departure from Israel's policy of minimal intervention in Syria's civil war, the Israeli army said it would help defend a Druze village in Syria where Sunni militants killed nine people.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, a move never recognised by the global community.

The Jewish state has provided thousands of injured Syrians with medical care in Israel since the civil war began, saying it does not discriminate among the injured who come to its border asking for help.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated from London that Israel will continue to "guard our borders and to cherish our sympathy toward our Druze brothers".

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The Syrian border with Israel.

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