Egyptian officer shot dead Israeli teen: Official
An Israeli Bedouin teenager shot dead while working along the Egyptian border appears to have been killed by Egyptian forces in error, an Israeli source said today.
Jerusalem: An Israeli Bedouin teenager shot dead while working along the Egyptian border appears to have been killed by Egyptian forces in error, an Israeli source said today.
Nimr Abu Ammar from the southern town of Laqiya was shot yesterday as the 15-year-old took part in maintenance work on the border fence.
The Israeli army had initially said that the "shooting does not appear to be connected to terror activities," without providing further details.
An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue told AFP the shooter was a member of the Egyptian security forces, who apparently mistook the youth for a militant.
According to the official, initial findings showed that the work was taking place in a "no-man's land" where there are "quiet understandings with the Egyptians regarding the Israeli presence there."
The official said the initial findings showed that an Egyptian officer at the site "mistakenly thought the boy was planting a mine" - while he in fact was making coffee for the crew of Israeli labourers and his father, who was working there.
An Israeli military spokeswoman would only confirm that the shooting was by Egyptian security forces.
Speaking on army radio today, Abu Ammar's father, Bassam, blamed the Israeli security forces for insufficiently protecting his son.
"They didn't tell him 'put on a helmet, put on a protective vest,'" he said of the Israeli army. "I blame the defence ministry. They didn't respond on the spot."
He said Egyptian officers first told them to move, but before giving them a chance to do so opened fire.
Israeli media reported that soldiers did not return fire because they realised it was a mistake.
According to the defence ministry, Nimr Abu Ammar was working for a sub-contractor of the company in charge of border fence maintenance, and had gone to work there along with family members.
The Israeli official criticised the contractors for enabling minors to work, as well as those who brought their children to work.
The shooting occurred in the Har Harif area midway along the 240-kilometre (150-mile) border between Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Israel.
Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State group are waging a deadly insurgency in the Sinai.
In the same area in 2012, an Israeli soldier and three militants who infiltrated from Sinai were killed in a clash along the border.
Banditry and drug trafficking also occur in the area.