Hamas used a rifle developed by Iran from an Austrian model to kill Aviv Levi, a preliminary IDF investigation has revealed.
By: World Israel News Staff
IDF Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, killed Friday by Palestinian sniper fire on the Gaza border, was hit by an armor-piercing bullet fired from an Iranian-manufactured rifle.
That was the conclusion of a preliminary IDF investigation into the circumstances of Levi’s death, according to a Hadashot TV report Sunday.
The gun used in the attack was said to be an Iranian replica of an Austrian Steyr rifle. It fires a 0.5 caliber bullet.
According to the report, the IDF was aware Hamas was in possession of such weapons, which can penetrate the standard ceramic bulletproof vests used by the majority of soldiers.
However, given the low likelihood of the rifle’s use and the impracticality of introducing heavier weight vests capable of protecting from such bullets but adding addition weight that slows down soldiers and limits their movement, the IDF has opted not to issue the more specialized protective wear in all but special cases.
Levi, 21, an infantry soldier in the Givati Brigade, was close to Kibbutz Kisufim by the Gaza border when he was shot.
Weekly border protests, particularly on Friday, the day the incident took place, probably provided cover for the shooter.
Levi was the first IDF fatality on the Gaza front since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
In response to Levi’s death, the Israel Air Force launched a major wave of strikes on Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip on Friday evening.