No Israeli officials present, as teenager killed in cross-border shooting buried
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No Israeli officials present, as teenager killed in cross-border shooting buried

Representatives from Defense Ministry, PM’s office should have ‘paid last respects,’ says relative of Nimer Bassem Abu Amar

Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a 15-year-old Bedouin Israel, who was killed in a shooting on October 25, 2016, near the Egyptian border, where he worked for a subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry. (Courtesy)
Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a 15-year-old Bedouin Israel, who was killed in a shooting on October 25, 2016, near the Egyptian border, where he worked for a subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry. (Courtesy)

The funeral of Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, the 15-year-old shot and killed Tuesday while working on the border fence with Egypt, was held Wednesday without any representation from the Prime Minister’s Office or the Defense Ministry, relatives said.

“Why did nobody come to the ceremony?” one of Abu Amar’s relations said in an interview with Channel 2 News. “They should have come and paid their last respects.”

President Reuven Rivlin was scheduled to pay a condolence call to the family on Thursday.

The Defense Ministry said senior representatives would visit the mourning tent in coordination with the Abu Amar family.

Mount Harif and the road running along the border between Israel and Egypt. (photo credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
Mount Harif and the road running along the border between Israel and Egypt. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli army announced that Nimer had been shot by a member of the Egyptian armed forces in a case of “misidentification.”

Abu Amar, from Lakiya, a predominantly Bedouin village in southern Israel, had been employed by a civilian subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry to perform maintenance work on the fence, a spokesperson for the ministry said on Tuesday.

At the time of the incident, on his first day at work, the teenager had been pouring coffee for other workers, in an area where the designation between Israeli and Egyptian territory can be unclear.

In light of the tense security situation in Sinai, where the Egyptian army is battling both jihadist groups and criminal smugglers, the work along the border had been “coordinated ahead of time with Egypt,” the army spokesperson said.

That message, however, does not appear to have reached all the Egyptian troops on the ground, as Abu Amar was mistaken for either a smuggler or a militant. The apparent breakdown in communication within the Egyptian security forces could not be confirmed by the IDF.

Bassem Abu Amar, the father of Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a 15-year-old Bedouin Israel, who was killed in a shooting on October 25, 2016, near the Egyptian border, where he worked for a subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry. (Screen capture: Ynet)
Bassem Abu Amar, the father of Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a 15-year-old Bedouin Israel, who was killed in a shooting on October 25, 2016, near the Egyptian border, where he worked for a subcontractor hired by the Defense Ministry. (Screen capture: Ynet)

On Tuesday, Abu Amar’s father accused the Defense Ministry and army of “abandoning” his son.

Speaking outside the Beersheba hospital where his son had been taken, Bassem Abu Amar charged that the workers did not have an armed escort while working on the tense border and criticized the soldiers for not firing back at the Egyptian forces.

“The IDF arrived and hid, to my sorrow. This is the Defense Ministry; these are soldiers, they’re supposed to respond. You don’t do this work without the IDF. When there was shooting, they didn’t respond, didn’t shoot. I want to know where the army was,” he said.

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