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Albin Szakola

Pro-Assad militia says hit by Israel

The Golan Regiment said one of its commanders escaped an "assassination attempt."

Smoke rises over Quneitra. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

BEIRUT - A pro-Assad militia force has claimed that Israel conducted a missile strike on one of its convoys in the Quneitra province, the latest cross-border incident along Syria’s border with Israel.

 

The Golan Regiment announced that two Israeli Nimrod missiles hit one of its positions at 1 p.m. Thursday, but did not name the specific location of the strike.

 

“The commander of the Golan Regiment’s Fist Battalion, Majid Himoud, escaped the Zionist [strike],” the group, which is part of the Syrian regime’s auxiliary National Defense Force, announced on its official Facebook page.

 

The militia, which is predominantly Druze, added that Israel fired the missiles from its side of the divided Golan Heights, but did not specify whether the Nimrods were launched from an aircraft or the ground.

 

A pro-Hezbollah online outlet also covered the incident, claiming that the missiles struck Himoud’s convoy as it was traveling through Al-Samdaniyeh al-Sharqiyeh, a small village just under five kilometers from the Golan demarcation line.

 

Thursday’s purported incident is the latest instance of cross-border tension along the Golan, where Iran’s Basij force commander, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, made an unusually publicized visit to Quneitra in recent days.

 

On July 4, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hit two Syrian army targets in the Golan after stray fire damaged the technical fence stretching across the demarcation line between the two countries in the mountainous region.

 

Two weeks later, an unmanned aerial vehicle crossed over the border into Israeli territory in the central Golan, prompting Israel to fire two Patriot missiles in an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down the drone.

 

An air-to-air missile fired by an Israeli jet also failed to bring down the drone, which Tel Aviv suspects is Russian-manufactured.

 

In the latest incident, Israel once again responded to a stray cross-border mortar strike on July 25, hitting a Syrian army target in the Golan, as per Tel Aviv’s standard practice of retaliation to errant fire.

 

A spokesperson in the pro-regime Golan Regiment fighting force told Iran’s Tasnim news that Israeli helicopters launched missiles at two mortar emplacements outside Madinat al-Baath, causing no casualties.

Smoke rises over Quneitra. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)