Family of Slain Sinai Fence Worker: Where Was the Army?

A Watchtower of the Egyptian army is seen a next to the border area of southern Gaza Strip with Egypt July 1, 2015. Islamic State militants launched a wide-scale coordinated assault on several military checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday in which 50 people were killed, security sources said, the largest attack yet in the insurgency-hit province. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90 *** Local Caption *** âáåì ñéðé îöøéí ìçéîä ãòàù äøâ çééìéí òæä
A watchtower of the Egyptian army is seen next to the border area of southern Gaza Strip with Egypt. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The Defense Ministry expressed regret over the death of Nimar Abu-Amar, the 15-year-old Israeli who was killed when shots were fired at a jeep he was riding in on the Sinai border. The Ministry deflected criticism by family members who blamed it and the IDF for failing to provide sufficient security for the work crew that Abu-Amar was with, members of his family who were working on the security fence between Israel and Sinai. An investigation is ongoing, the Ministry said.

Speaking to Army Radio Wednesday, the youth’s uncle demanded the establishment of a state commission of inquiry into his death. “We have been demanding to know why there was no IDF security for the work crew, and we have not gotten any answers yet,” said Fares Abu-Amar. “This could have been prevented, and a commission of inquiry will ensure that it does not happen again.”

Abu-Amar was killed earlier Tuesday after a vehicle he was riding in apparently accidentally crossed the border. The jeep was targeted by a shooter, apparently a member of the Egyptian police. Sky News quoted an Egyptian security official as saying that the shots had been fired by a border defense officer, who thought that he was shooting at border smugglers. Abu-Amar was injured in the incident, and later died of his wounds.

The IDF said that the incident should not be considered a terror attack, but family members of the slain boy disagreed. “They did provide post sufficient security for the workers,” the youth’s father told reporters. “Projects like these taking place on the border should have been protected by soldiers, and there were none when the shooting took place. They arrived only after the shots were fired. The army let them die, there is nothing else that can be said about this.”

The boy was a member of the team that had been subcontracted by a Defense Ministry contractor to build the security fence in the specific area of the Israel-Sinai border. The company was operated by members of his family.

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