Israel Completes ‘Iron Wall’ of Gaza’s Underground Barrier | News

Israel’s defense minister said the “technologically advanced project” includes hundreds of cameras, radars and other sensors over a distance of 65 km.

Israel has announced the completion of a sensor-equipped underground wall on its side of Gaza, a countermeasure developed after Hamas used tunnels to repel its troops during a 2014 invasion of besieged Palestinian territory.

Israel publicized the project, which also includes an above-ground fence, naval barrier, radar systems and command and control rooms, in 2016.

“The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it has been trying to develop,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, according to a ministry statement.

“[It] places an “iron wall”, sensors and concrete between the terror organization and the residents of southern Israel,” he said of the project, which reinforces an existing fence.

The ministry said the barrier, which includes hundreds of cameras, radars and other sensors, spans 65 km (40 miles) and 140,000 tonnes of iron and steel were used in its construction, which took three and a half years.

He said the project’s “smart fence” is more than 6 meters (20 feet) high and its sea barrier includes sea seepage detection means and a remote-controlled weapons system. The ministry did not reveal the depth of the underground wall.

Gaza also has a 14 km (8.7 mile) long border with Egypt, which has also closed the crossings, citing security concerns. Since 2013, Egyptian forces have demolished smuggling tunnels while Hamas, for its part, has stepped up its patrols.

Iron Dome Interceptors

Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In May, an 11-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip killed more than 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

At least 12 people, including three foreign workers and two children, were killed in Israel by rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza during the same period.

Israel deployed its Iron Dome interceptors against rockets and carried out extensive aerial attacks on Gaza. Hamas and other armed groups fired more than 4,300 rockets into Israel.

Bonny J. Streater