IAF attacks Gaza targets in response to shooting of Defense Ministry employee


Palestinian sniper fire kills Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, who was working on the Gaza border fence; Netanyahu calls shooting a "very grave incident," says Israel will "react with force."

IDF medics at the scene of the shooting on the northern Gaza border, December 24, 2013.

IDF medics at the scene of the shooting on the northern Gaza border, December 24, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen


A civilian employee of the Defense Ministry was killed by a Palestinian gun attack on the Gaza - Israel border on Tuesday. He was identified as Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, 22, from Rahat.

The IAF attacked targets in Gaza in response for the shooting, striking two Hamas training camps, Reuters quoted witnesses as saying.

"The incident occurred very close to the border," one security source said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded soon after the sniper attack, calling it a "very grave incident" that Israel will not let go unanswered.

"Our policy up until now has been to prevent beforehand and to react with force, and this is how we will act now as well," he said.

Netanyahu made his comment as he was just about to fly back to Jerusalem from Sderot, where he went Tuesday to dedicate the new Tel Aviv-Sderot train line.

An IDF spokesman said that the military had limited the access of farmers working in the immediate vicinity of the fence in the aftermath of the attack.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian youth who approached the fence on the border with northern Gaza entered the closed security zone, and ignored calls by soldiers to vacate the area. He was shot in the leg and evacuated to a Gazan hospital by the Red Crescent.

The cross-border shooting comes after a spate of attempts by Palestinians to plant explosives along the security fence and to damage the barrier in recent days.

On Monday, IDF soldiers fired at the legs of a Palestinian man attempting to plant an explosive on the Gaza-Israel border, injuring him.

The incident occurred on the border with northern Gaza. “The bomb was intended to harm soldiers along the border,” one source said after the incident.

It was the fifth time soldiers fired on suspects in the border region since Friday.
Over the weekend, the IDF opened fire on four separate occasions at Palestinians who entered the forbidden security zones near the fence and refused to vacate the area. In at least one case soldiers identified a suspect planting a bomb at the border.

Shortly after midnight, on Sunday, Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket into southern Israel, triggering an air raid siren and sending residents fleeing for cover.

Security forces located the rocket’s remains after sunrise inside an Israeli village, where it fell between homes, failing to cause injuries or damages.

Jpost.com staff and Yasser Okbi contributed to this report.