Israel completes ‘iron wall’ underground Gaza barrier

Dec 8, 2021: Israel has announced the completion of a sensor equipped underground wall around its side of Gaza, a countermeasure developed after Hamas used tunnels to repel its troops during a 2014 invasion of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Israel unveiled the plan publicly in 2016, including an overhead fence, a naval barrier, a radar system and command and control rooms.

Isaeli defence minster Benny Gantz commented on the completion saying, “The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it tried to develop,”

“[It] places an ‘iron wall’, sensors and concrete between the terror organisation and the residents of Israel’s south,” he said of the project, which beefs up an existing fence.

The barrier, which includes hundreds of cameras, radar and other sensors, spans 65 kilometers (40 miles) and involved 140,000 tons of iron and steel construction, which took three-and-a-half years to complete, the ministry said.

Gantz said the project’s “smart fence” is more than 6 meters (20 feet) high and its maritime barrier includes a system for detecting intrusion by sea and a system of remote control weapons. The ministry did not disclose the depth of the underground wall.

Gaza also has a 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) border with Egypt, which has also banned crossings citing security concerns.

Since 2013, Egyptian forces have demolished smuggling tunnels, while Hamas has stepped up patrols.

There have been four wars between Israel and Hamas since the occupation of the coastal Gaza Strip by forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

In May, an 11-day Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip killed more than 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. During the same period, rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza killed at least 12 people in Israel, including three foreign workers and two children.

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

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