July 29, 2015 / 9:50 AM / 2 years ago

Israeli drone strike in Syria kills two near frontier: Hezbollah's al-Manar TV

BEIRUT (Reuters) - An air strike by an Israeli surveillance plane hit a car in Quneitra province in southwestern Syria on Wednesday, killing two members of a militia fighting alongside the Syrian military, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported.

The attack struck the car on the outskirts of the village of Hader, a Druze area at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The dead were identified as members of the National Defence Forces, a pro-government militia whose members often come from the areas where they fight.

Asked about the reported strike, an Israeli military spokeswoman in Jerusalem declined comment.

A spokesman for a Syrian rebel group operating in the same area confirmed the attack. “Israeli planes have been flying in the skies of Quneitra and the western Deraa countryside since this morning,” said Abu Ghiath al-Shami, spokesman for the Alwiyat Seif al-Sham group.

The Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah is fighting alongside the Syrian military in the country’s civil war. There was no word about the attack on Syrian state media.

Syrian insurgents battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad encircled Hader as part of an offensive in the Quneitra area last month. The Druze minority follow a religion that is an offshoot of Islam.

Recent insurgent advances near Druze areas in southern Syria triggered concern among Druze community in Israel.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that reports on the war using sources on the ground, said the car was transporting five people in total both from a local militia and Hezbollah.

In January, Israel carried out a helicopter attack in Quneitra province that killed a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and several Hezbollah members including the son of the group’s late military commander, Jihad Mughniyeh.

(This version of the story was refiled to correct day of week in the first paragraph to Wednesday from Tuesday.)

Reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Alison Williams

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