JERUSALEM — An escalation of violence is brimming along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip after a civilian employee of the Israel Defense Ministry was killed by a Palestinian sniper from Gaza while making repairs to the security fence.
The man, 50, was killed on Dec. 24 by a single gunshot to his chest. He was airlifted to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where he died of his injury.
“This is a very severe incident and we will not let it go unanswered. Our policy until now has been to act to thwart such incidents beforehand and to respond in force and this is how we will act regarding this incident as well,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement in response to the incident.
The shooting occurred near Kibbutz Nahal Oz where the security fence had been damaged by recent winter storms. It also follows a rocket attack from Gaza on Dec. 22 that landed near an Israeli school bus stop. No one was injured in that attack.
In response to the shooting, the Israeli Air Force fired missile strikes targeting Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip including a weapons manufacturing facility, an IDF spokesperson confirmed.
"Israel holds the Hamas terror organization accountable for all acts of terrorism originating from the Gaza Strip,” the spokesperson said making it clear whom the army holds responsible.
It has been over a year since the most recent flare up in the Gaza Strip that resulted in casualties on both sides. That escalation occurred in November 2012 and lasted eight days, during which Tel Aviv was targeted by rocket fire.