The attack on the Gaza border Tuesday in which an Israeli civilian was reportedly gunned down was part of a more sophisticated terror plot in which terrorists sought to target IDF forces with a bomb at the fence. The IDF shot dead two terrorists engaged in the attack, Israel’s Channel 10 news reported on Wednesday night.
The IDF on Wednesday deployed an Iron Dome missile interception battery to the area near the southern town of Sderot, amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians following Tuesday’s violence, the latest in a string of attacks against Israeli civilians, police officers and soldiers.
Civilian Defense Ministry worker Saleh Abu Latif, 22, a Bedouin from Rahat, was killed by sniper fire from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. His killing, as he worked to repair storm damage to the border fence at Nahal Oz, was part of a combined plot, the TV report said, in which terrorists at the same time sought to place “a large explosive device” further along the fence, which was to be detonated close to an IDF patrol.
Soldiers spotted the terrorists with the bomb, the report said, watched as they approached the fence with the device, backed away, and then headed back toward the fence. Troops then opened fire, killing two terrorists.
Abu Latif was laid to rest Wednesday in Rahat, and his co-workers and relatives complained that he had not been provided with body armor or a helmet while he was performing the repair work on a damaged stretch of the border fence.
“I feel ashamed of my army,” said his co-worker Yoram Michael. “How dare they put us in so dangerous an area” without adequate protection?”
The dead man’s cousin, Khaled Abu Latif, called for a commission of inquiry into the killing. Had Saleh been equipped with a helmet and protective vest, he might have been injured, but he wouldn’t have been killed, he said.
A Defense Ministry spokesperson said in response that the IDF, not the ministry, was responsible for protecting civilian contractors and providing them with the necessary hardware. The IDF, expressing sorrow and condolences to the family, said it was investigating the incident, and would “draw conclusions” at the end of the investigation.