Israeli Military Says Rifle That Killed Soldier on Gaza Border Was Iranian-Made
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) investigators believe the rifle that was used to kill Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi near the Gaza border on Friday was Iranian-made, local media outlets reported on Sunday.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, a major clue was that the rifle succeeded in penetrating the soldier’s heavy body armor. The armor was made of a ceramic material described as “level 4.” It is capable of stopping bullets fired by AK-47s, M-16s, and heavier machine guns. Nonetheless, it proved ineffective against the sniper rifle that killed Levi.
The investigators reportedly believe that the rifle was an Iranian-manufactured copy of an Austrian rifle called a “Steyr.”
Channel 2 reported that the IDF was aware of the fact that this weapon was in the hands of Hamas, but chose not to provide heavier body armor to certain units because of weight concerns and the low likelihood that Hamas would use this particular weapon.
After Levi’s death, the IDF launched a series of major retaliatory strikes, hitting over 60 Hamas targets in Gaza. Hamas later unilaterally declared a ceasefire, reportedly brokered by Egypt, which told Hamas at the time that Israel was prepared to go to war within “two hours.”