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ISRAEL has been accused of assassinating a Syrian government member in the occupied Golan Heights on Saturday.
Midhat Saleh al-Saleh was killed in the Syrian village of Ain al-Tinah, according to the official Sana news agency.
Damascus condemned what it described as “a cowardly act,” offering condolences to Mr Saleh’s family and blaming his death on “the Israeli enemy.”
“These terrorist acts will only increase the determination of the Syrian Arab people to continue resisting the occupier and liberating the occupied Syrian Golan,” a statement said.
Locals said the father of one had been targeted by Israeli fire while returning to his home in Ein al-Tina.
Tel Aviv has not commented on the death of Mr Saleh, but Israeli media reported a heavy presence of helicopters and unmanned drones in the nearby Israeli-occupied town of Maidal Shams.
The former MP was in charge of the Golan Heights’ portfolio under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He had spent more than 12 years in Israeli prisons and survived a number of assassination attempts, the most recent in 2011, when Israeli forces, it is alleged, opened fire on his home.
The Golan Heights, Syrian territory stolen by Israel during the 1967 six day war, have become a flashpoint in the past week.
Israel mobilised tanks to its border soon after it announced plans to quadruple the number of illegal settlers to 100,000 through the construction of two new projects.
Syria stated its opposition to the plans, insisting that the heights remained an integral part of its territory.
Former US president Donald Trump inflamed tensions in 2019, when he recognised Israeli sovereignty over the territory, which is rejected by the United Nations and the international community.
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