Arab snipers in Gaza shot at IDF civilian workers working near the security fence on Thursday. None were injured in the attack, although engineering equipment was damaged by the gunfire.
The shooting comes just three weeks after terrorists in Gaza unleashed a barrage of rockets on Israel, raining down at least 100 missiles in three days.
The unprecedented escalation was the largest-scale attack since the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, and led to calls to retake Gaza by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, as well as Intelligence and Strategy Minister Yuval Steinitz,and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
An IDF civilian worker, 22-year-old Salah Shukri Abu Latif from the Israeli Arab town of Rahat, was shot dead by Gaza snipers last December as he was working on the security fence, repairing damage caused by a record-breaking snowstorm.
Since that incident, the Defense Ministry has forbidden all work on the fence without wearing full protective gear, including a helmet and ceramic bulletproof vests. Any workers not wearing the protective gear are to be sent home immediately and not employed by the IDF according to the new guidelines.
"Before that shooting, a citizen could have said that he couldn't work with the ceramic (vest) or the helmet, and they gave them a dispensation, but today there is an order that workers must be sent home even if they have to be paid money," noted a captain in the Gaza Division to Maariv.
The captain added that "today, already in briefings we tell them (workers) that the first time they are caught without protective gear they simply will go home. It harms our work, but the Ministry of Defense has agreed to pay the price in order to protect the lives of the workers."