15-year-old killed in cross-border fire from Egypt

IDF says it is looking into the incident that wounded a laborer working for the Defense Ministry.

The border fence between Israel and Egypt along Highway 12 (photo credit: REUTERS)
The border fence between Israel and Egypt along Highway 12
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Israeli teenager died after he was shot near Mount Harif while working along the Israeli-Egypt border fence Tuesday, the IDF said.
Nimr Bassem Abu Amar, 15, from Lakiya, a Beduin town in the South, was hit by a bullet that came from Egypt at noon. Abu Amar was carrying out maintenance work for a Defense Ministry subcontractor.
Airlift of Egypt border shooting victim (Credit: Field Security Group)
He succumbed to his wounds while being airlifted, and he was pronounced dead at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
According to the Defense Ministry, Abu Amar was not a formal employee of the ministry subcontractor but had arrived with family members. Speaking to press outside Soroka, Abu Amar’s father blamed the Defense Ministry.
“The soldiers left and came back only when they heard bursts of gunfire,” he said, adding that his son had been making coffee for the workers.
According to the IDF, an initial investigation revealed that the shooting was not terrorist-related.
“The initial indications do not appear to be connected to terrorist activities,” an IDF spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
She added that the source of the gunfire was not clear and that the army is investigating in coordination with the Egyptian army.
Reports in Egyptian and other Arabic media, which cited Egyptian security sources, said the teenager was hit by stray fire as a firefight broke out between smugglers and security forces in the area.
In response to the death, Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev said the Defense Ministry was shirking its responsibility for employing a minor and called for Abu Amar to be recognized as a formal employee killed in action.
“The Defense Ministry is too big an elephant to try and hide behind a contracting company that employed a 15-year-old boy,” he said.
Likud MK Yehudah Glick offered condolences to the family, and he also criticized the Ministry for employing “such a young boy.”
Egypt is in the midst of an ongoing battle with terrorist groups and drug smugglers in the Sinai, including an Islamic State branch in the peninsula’s north. In September gunmen killed five policemen in the northern Sinai while the air force carried out an extensive bombing campaign on Sunday killing dozens of ISIS terrorists.
In 2014, another 15-year-old, Muhammad Qaraqra, was killed while working for a Defense Ministry subcontractor along the Syrian border. Qaraqra was killed and three others were wounded after a rocket from Syria hit the contractors.