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Defense Minister: Hamas has Changed the Rules

Min. Yaalon says latest killing marks the first time a Gaza sniper fires at civilians who work near security fence.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/26/2013, 10:31 PM

Yaalon visits grieving family in Rahat
Yaalon visits grieving family in Rahat
PR photo

Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon said Thursday that Hamas has changed the “game rules” in its ongoing confrontation with Israel, as he paid a condolence visit to the family of Salah Abu Latif, who was shot dead by a sniper Tuesday.

Abu Latif, a Bedouin resident of Rahat in the Negev, was shot as he worked at fixing the security fence between Israel and Gaza.

"I came to comfort the family and the people of Rahat over the heavy loss,” said Yaalon. “We are sorry and pained. I did not know Salah personally but I heard what a dedicated worker he was and what he managed to accomplish in his life.”

"This is the first time that a sniper from Gaza fires at workers on the other side of the fence,” he told the grieving family. “We thought there were 'game rules,' according to which you do not fire at civilians who work near the fence. Until now, they did not fire at civilians, and we will have to think what to do, if someone has changed the rules.”

Yaalon stressed that Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza, is responsible for the killing. “We exited the Gaza Strip and no one intended to fire on it,” he explained. “But regretfully, people are firing from there. We expect Hamas to prevent that gunfire. For our part, it is unacceptable and that is why we retaliate.”

While warring sides often respect certain undeclared rules, Yaalon's statement is surprising, in view of the fact that Hamas is a genocidal terror organization that prides itself on murdering civilians. There have been numerous sniper attacks by Gaza terrorists against Jewish agriculturalists on the Israeli side of the border, and a particularly heinous attack in 2011 involved an anti-tank missile that was fired at a school bus, killing a Jewish teen.