A suicide car bomb attack killed nine people in a government-held village in Syria’s Golan Heights on Friday, state media said, reporting clashes between government forces and rebels afterward.
State news agency SANA said the car bomb hit the outskirts of the village of Hader, which lies near the disengagement line that divides the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan from that occupied by Israel.
“A suicide bomber from Al-Nusra Front detonated a car 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.
Al-Nusra Front is the old name for a jihadist group that was formerly Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria and is now known as the Fateh al-Sham Front.
“In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, terrorist groups carried out a heavy attack on Hader, and army units and the Popular Defence units (pro-government militants) clashed with the attackers,” it added.
SANA said the toll was expected to rise because a number of those wounded in the bombing were in serious condition and the ongoing assault on the town made it difficult to remove the injured to safety.
Hader is a majority-Druze village and has been attacked in the past by rebel and jihadist groups.
It lies in southwestern Syria’s Quneitra province, around 70 percent of which is held by either rebel or jihadist groups, with the government controlling the other 30 percent, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.