An Israeli teenager was shot and killed near Mount Harif in southern Israel on Tuesday afternoon while working on the border fence with Egypt, officials said.
The bullet came from across the border in Egypt, though it was not immediately clear who fired it, the army said.
However, the shooting “does not appear to be connected to terror activities,” the army said in a statement.
The victim was Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a 15-year-old from Lakiya, a predominantly Bedouin village in southern Israel, according to the Defense Ministry.
Egyptian security sources told Sky News Arabia the shots were fired during a clash between smugglers and Egyptian border guards.
According to the Arabic report, the smugglers opened fire at a group of Israeli contractors during the shootout, before Egyptian forces shot back.
The IDF could not confirm the claim, as details of the incident were still being investigated, a military spokesperson said.
The Israeli and Egyptian militaries were working together to sort out what had happened, the IDF said.
The slain teenager was employed by a civilian subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry, who had been performing maintenance work on the fence, a spokesperson for the ministry said.
The ministry said the minor had been brought to work the site by family members, but said it had “reached out to the maintenance subcontractor company” in order to get additional information.
After he was shot, Abu Amar was transported by helicopter to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center for treatment, but succumbed to his wounds, the IDF said.
This was not the first time civilian contractors employed by the Defense Ministry have been killed while working close to the border, nor was it the first 15-year-old.
In 2014, a missile was fired at a group of contractors and one of the workers’ sons, who were riding in a car near the Syrian border. The 15-year-old, Muhammad Qaraqra, was killed and three others were injured in the attack.
The year before, Saleh Abu Latif, a Defense Ministry contractor, was shot and killed by a sniper as he repaired the Gaza security barrier after a storm.