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Israeli resident wounded after being shot from Syrian 'spillover fire'

Israeli resident wounded after being shot from Syrian 'spillover fire'

The Israeli army said on Friday that it will not allow jihadists to overrun a government-held Druze village inside Syria, in an unprecedented intervention into the country's years-long civil war.

"A suicide bomber from Al-Nusra Front detonated a auto bomb in the midst of the homes of citizens on the outskirts of Hader, killing nine people and injuring at least 23", the agency said.

The bomb attack was followed by Rockets and gunfire in Hadher, close to the Israeli-held Golan Heights, a Reuters report said, adding the number of casualties was expected to rise.

Syrian rebel groups launched an attack on Syrian government-held areas in Quneitra on Friday, with the aim of connecting two insurgent-held areas.

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

Hader has been aligned with the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad (the Druze are typically loyal to whichever party is in power), making it a target for all of the various rebel and Islamist groups participating in Syria's civil war.

The agency said the toll can rise as a number of injured are in serious condition and the ongoing clashes in the town make it hard to remove the injured to safety.

The statement reflects ongoing pressure on Israeli leaders from the Druze communities in the Galilee and on the Golan to help their coreligionists across the border who are often caught in the crossfire between Sunni rebels and Alawite and Shiite pro-government forces. They are full citizens of Israel and generally serve in the army.

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The fighting prompted concern from Druze residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and a statement from the Israeli army, which pledged to "prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied".

Spillover fire from the Friday morning clashes also lightly injured a man in the Israeli Druze town of Majdal Shams, the IDF said in a statement.

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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