IDF soldiers and Defense Ministry security guards shot and killed an Israeli man who attempted to infiltrate the Gaza Strip early Monday morning near the Erez Crossing.
The man was identified as Yakir Ben-Melech, 34, from Tel Aviv.
Defense officials said that Ben-Melech arrived at the crossing at around 1 a.m., parked his car and began walking towards the crossing's security fence. Security guards stationed at the Erez Crossing, the main terminal used to cross between Israel and Gaza, called on him to stop and fired some dozen warning shots in the air.
When Ben-Melech ignored the shots and continued trying to climb the fence, the guards opened fire at Ben-Melech's legs, in accordance with military regulations. He bled to death as a result of a gunshot wound to the leg, IDF sources said.
The IDF and the Defense Ministry, which operates the crossing, launched an investigation into the incident and found that the security guards had acted according to regulations. Ben-Melech was wearing a heavy coat, raising suspicions that he was carrying weapons or explosives, although he was later found to have been unarmed.
"The guards had no way of knowing who he was and feared that his attempted infiltration was part of a larger-scale terror attack," one official explained.
The investigation into the motives behind the entry attempt is ongoing.