Israeli Sniper Rules of Engagement

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

An Israeli sniper describes the rules of engagement along the Israel–Gaza border:

The Shamen [the "fat guy"] is a confirmed leader of a group of Palestinian men who, disguised as bird catchers, bring their cages into the no man’s land by the border fence and loiter, gathering intelligence on Israel, planting explosives by the fence or participating in efforts to dig tunnels for attacks into Israel. The IDF policy is that these non-uniformed militants are given warning shots in the air to remind them, as they already know, that they cannot come up to the fence. After the men ignore warning shots or return to the fence, snipers are sent to shoot them in the leg, a nonlethal shot meant to wound but not kill, and prevent them from continuing their militant activity. Only if a person is a direct threat will officers give permission to shoot to kill.


It is 10 times harder to shoot someone in the leg than to simply kill him. The leg is narrow, easily concealed by the land, and always moving. And I could have always shot above the leg and claimed it was an accident. No one would have known. It’s ironic how much effort we put into not killing these men.

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