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Palestinian citizen of Israel killed, 5 injured in Golan blast

June 22, 2014 11:29 P.M. (Updated: June 23, 2014 11:56 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A 15-year-old was killed and at least five others seriously injured when a blast hit a vehicle traveling in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday morning.

The blast, which marks the first time an Israeli has been killed in the Golan Heights since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution and civil war more than three years ago, occurred near the Israeli settlement of Tel Hazeka near the ceasefire line with Syria.

The blast hit a vehicle belonging to a Defense Ministry contractor employed by the Israeli army to reinforce the border fence, according to Israeli news site Ynet.

The victim was a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the village of Arraba in the Galilee region, and Israeli news site Ynet reported that he was joining his father to work when the blast struck their vehicle.

Initial reports suggested that it was a mortal shell, but at the time of publishing it was still not clear how the blast had occurred.

Israeli forces responded by shelling the Syrian side of the ceasefire line.

Mortars have occasionally struck the Golan Heights from Syria as a result of fighting between government forces and rebels across the border.

Israel has responded to these hits with return fire, and has at times closed areas near the border as a result of fighting near the ceasefire line between pro- and anti-government forces.

In March, a roadside bomb injured four Israeli troops near the ceasefire line, and Israel responded by bombing Syrian military posts.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights after invading Syria in the 1967 war in which it also captured the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
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