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Hundreds of Druze residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights surrounded a building in the main town of Majdel Shams on Sunday, trapping inside policemen for several hours, police said.

The 10 policemen were searching for “criminals” inside the building, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that reinforcements were called in who negotiated with the crowd and community elders to end the standoff.

Rosenfeld said he was unaware of any injuries, but Israeli media said several of the residents were hurt when police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

“Tear gas was used only in the beginning to calm down the crowd,” said Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld said the operation was not political.

Israel captured the strategic Golan Heights plateau from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and unilaterally annexed it in 1981. Damascus has repeatedly demanded its return as a non-negotiable condition for peace.

More than 18,000 Syrians, mostly Druze, are left from the Golan’s original population of 150,000. The vast majority of the Druze in the Golan have refused to take Israeli citizenship. AFP

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Hundreds of Druze residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights surrounded a building in the main town of Majdel Shams on Sunday, trapping inside policemen for several hours, police said.

The 10 policemen were searching for (more…)

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