May 15, 2011

Syria Implicated in Deadly Clashes on Israeli Border

Aaron KleinBy Aaron Klein

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Israel has information implicating the Syrian government in the deadly clashes that rocked the Jewish state's borders today, according to informed Israeli security officials.

Separately, a group that operates from the Israeli Golan Heights and is closely tied to the Syrian regime told WND today it helped organize the riots that resulted in Israeli troops shooting Syrians who attempted to breach the border.

The protests marked what the Arabs refer to as the Nakba, or "tragedy" of Israel's founding.

A leader of the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights confirmed to WND the group was behind the planning of today's demonstrations at the Syrian border.

The organization was first formed in 2006. It operates from both the Golan Heights and Syria, and is reportedly tied to the Syrian government.

During a widely circulated interview in August 2006, a senior official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Baath party said the new Committees group would launch "resistance operations" if Israel didn't vacate the Golan.

One month later, a man identified as the leader of the new Committees gave an interview to state-run Iranian television.

Amos Yadlin, then head of the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence branch, told the Knesset in October 2009 that Syria is indeed forming a Hezbollah-like group.

That February, the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan faxed a letter to Israeli news agencies claiming it was holding Guy Hever, an Israeli soldier who went missing in the Golan in 1997. The Committees said they would release Hever in exchange for nine Syrians held in Israeli jails.

The protests that broke out today formed along Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria to the north and the Gaza Strip to the south. Palestinians also rioted in the West Bank, while Israeli-Arabs turned violent in cities inside Israel.

Reports said 10 Palestinians from Syria were killed while trying to storm Israel's border.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces told WND that hundreds of Syrian rioters infiltrated the Israeli-Syrian border into the village Majdal Shams and in the center of the village violently rioted against IDF forces.

"In attempt to turn the rioters back to Syria," the IDF said, "forces fired selectively towards rioters who were targeting security infrastructure, and some were injured as a result."

IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai told reporters today the border clashes bore Iran's "fingerprints."

"We are seeing here an Iranian provocation, on both the Syrian and the Lebanese frontiers, to try to exploit the Nakba Day commemorations," he said.

In Tel Aviv today, one person was killed and at least 16 others hurt when a truck plowed down a busy street in Tel Aviv, crashing into a bus, several cars, a motorcycle and a number of pedestrians, in what security forces believe was a terrorist attack.

Police sources contacted by WND said they believe the truck rampage was a lone attack and was not planned by any individual terror group.

Israel has in recent years suffered a spate of attacks using large vehicles, including two 2008 attacks in Jerusalem using bulldozers, killing three Israeli civilians.

Related Links

Israel: Syria responsible for border incident - Ynetnews
Israel Clashes With Protesters on Four Borders - New York Times
Netanyahu: We Will Defend Our Borders - Arutz Sheva
Defense Minister: Border infiltrations are just the beginning - Ha'aretz
16 dead, dozens injured as violence erupts along Israel's borders with Syria - Daily Mail