Itongadol.-Several Israeli lawmakers on Tuesday condemned the death of an Arab Israeli teen on the Egyptian border, scourging the Defense Ministry for employing a 15-year-old in such a dangerous location.
According to the Defense Ministry, Nimer Bassem Abu Amar, a resident of Lakiya, a predominantly Bedouin village in southern Israel, died after he was shot near Mount Harif in southern Israel on Tuesday afternoon while working on the border fence with Egypt.
The fatal fire came from across the border in Egypt, though it was not immediately clear who fired it, the army said. It ruled out terrorism as a motive.
Likud MK Yehuda Glick offered his condolences to the boy’s family. “It’s terrible to me,” he wrote on his Twitter account, adding that “I don’t understand how the Defense Ministry employs such a young boy.”
Abu Amar 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 did not immediately respond to requests for comment on how the minor came to be employed along the Egyptian border, but said it had “reached out to the maintenance subcontractor company” in order to get additional information.
MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) responded to the incident saying that it’s “outrageous that the Defense Ministry employs children, I intend to propose an urgent debate in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the start of the winter session next week.”
“The Defense Ministry is too big an elephant to hide behind a contracting company,” and it must recognize the boy as a defense employee killed in action, said Bar-Lev.
The army said that the shooting “does not appear to be connected to terror activities.”
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.
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, Mohammed Karkara, 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.