Police Freed in Majdal Shams

Police who entered the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan on Sunday evening found themselves surrounded by a hostile mob. Several officers were holed up in a local building at about 8:00 P.M. as additional troops worked to control the mob and free them.

The officers were rescued after a lengthy struggle. Rioters dispersed at 9:20 P.M. Police attributed their dispersal to officers’ determination, but others said the standoff’s sudden end may also have reflected villagers’ desire to see the final game in the World Cup soccer series, which began at 9:30 P.M. The officers were escorted out of the building by respected members of the community.

The standoff began when thousands of local residents attacked the officers with stones and other objects as they searched a building.

Fearing for their lives, the officers made contact with their superiors, who told them to enter a home in the village and shut themselves in. The officers did as they were told, and for more than two hours were trapped inside a room with weapons drawn as the mob laid siege to the building.

Large police forces were rushed to the area, and began working to quell the riot. Ambulances were ordered not to enter the village while riots continue, due to safety concerns. Instead, they waited on a main road as police worked to restore order.

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