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Israel vows crackdown after ‘lynching’ of wounded Syrian

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to track down Druze rioters in the occupied Golan Heights responsible for the “lynching” of a wounded Syrian being transported to a hospital.

The Monday attack, roundly condemned by local Druze religious and secular leadership, comes as Druze are increasingly concerned over the fate of their brethren in Syria after attacks by rebels there.

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Two Syrian men were being taken to hospital late Monday when dozens of Druze in the town of Majdal Shams stoned their ambulance, forcing it to stop and dragging the men from the vehicle.

They beat both of them, with one later pronounced dead and the other seriously wounded. An Israeli soldier and an officer in the ambulance were roughed up.

“This is very severe,” Netanyahu said of the attack. “We will find those who carried out the lynching and bring them to justice.”

“We are a country of law, not part of the anarchy spreading around us,” he continued, calling on local Druze leadership to calm things down and tell all the Druze “not to take the law into their hands.”

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Israel has a policy of providing humanitarian assistance to wounded Syrians who seek help by crossing over to the Jewish state.

Syrian Druze are traditional allies of President Bashar al-Assad, and the rioters on Monday likely believed the men in the ambulance were rebels fighting to unseat him.

The Druze are followers of a secretive offshoot of Shiite Islam. Officials say there are 110,000 of them in northern Israel and another 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan.

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Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War.

The spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze, Sheikh Muafak Tarif, told AFP an emergency meeting of Israel’s religious and secular Druze leadership “strongly condemned these deeds.”

?This is not our way; we are pained by what happened,” he said of the attack, calling it “a deplorable act committed by outlaws.”

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“The Druze religion, values and tradition prohibit inflicting any harm on wounded people,” he said, stressing the leaders condemning the attack included the Druze of the Golan Heights.

– ‘Civilians, not Nusra’ –

Tensions have flared in Druze areas of northern Israel and the occupied Golan Heights after rebels surrounded a government-held Druze village on the Syria side last week.

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Syria?s official news agency SANA said the two men being transported Monday were “terrorists from Al-Nusra Front,” the country’s Al-Qaeda franchise.

Syrian authorities label all those fighting to oust Assad “terrorists” and make no distinction between jihadist groups like Al-Nusra and other, internationally backed forces.

Israel denied the Syrian claim, saying the men were civilians.

“The claim we’re helping Al-Nusra Front is incorrect,” military spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz told army radio.

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Damascus has regularly accused Israel of backing forces fighting the regime.

The Jewish state says it is not involved in the internal Syrian fighting, but could not rule out the possibility that some of the wounded men who receive medical care are rebels.

“We don’t (give medical care) according to race or colour or religion; rather we give the humanitarian life-saving help to whomever reaches the border and asks for help,” army spokesman Major Arye Shalicar told AFP.

Shalicar noted that Israel has treated more than 1,600 Syrians in the past three years.

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Trump has figured out how to get taxpayers to renovate one of his golf courses: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has figured out how to have taxpayers pay to renovate his Trump National Doral Miami golf course, according to an analysis by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.

"Before setting himself on fire on Ukraine yesterday, Mick Mulvaney came into the White House briefing room to break to the nation the fact the that the Trump Doral golf resort turns out to be -- in his estimation, organically, just sitting there -- the best possible place to have a G-7 Summit of world leaders," MSNBC's Brian Williams reported. "That was provision number one. There’s no better place that we can find. Number two was, the president will not profit from said G-7."

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Bill Maher reveals plan to ‘bribe’ Trump with one billion dollars — for him to leave office

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The Constitution has two mechanisms to remove President Donald Trump from office prior to his term ending on January 20, 2021: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher noted that Trump could also choose to resign.

Maher waved around a $1 million check that he said he would give to Trump to quit.

He said he also knew 1,000 people who would do the same -- which would land Trump over $1 billion.

Maher said even poor people would pawn their wedding rings to add to the pot.

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Trump can’t fire Mulvaney because nobody else wants to be his chief of staff: report

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will likely stay on at the White House despite his public confession of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Friday.

"But Mr. Mulvaney’s job has been anything but normal since the news conference on Thursday at which he seemingly undermined the Trump administration’s strategy for avoiding impeachment by acknowledging that Mr. Trump had sought a quid pro quo for providing Ukraine with American aid," the newspaper reported. "In the chaotic aftermath, the president’s Republican allies are questioning Mr. Mulvaney’s savvy and intelligence even as the Trump campaign is defiantly turning one of his lines from the news conference into a T-shirt."

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