Photo: Israeli Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office

Israel completes underground Gaza security barrier

The Israeli Defense Ministry announced the completion of a sensor-equipped subterranean wall on its side of the Gaza border, built as a counter-measure against terror tunnels used by the Islamist Hamas terrorist rulers of the Palestinian enclave.

By Erin Viner

A ceremony was held to mark finalization of the construction, in the presence of the Minister of Defense, IDF Chief of the General Staff, Director General of the Ministry of Defense, and additional Ministry and IDF senior officials.

“The barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it tried to develop, and places an ‘iron wall,’ sensors and concrete between the terror organization and the residents of the Israel’s south,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, according to a Defense Ministry statement, adding that the barrier “will provide Israeli citizens a sense of security and will enable this beautiful region to continue developing and flourishing.”

It took 3.5 years, over 1,200 workers, about 220,000 trucks of concrete, 140,000 tons of iron and steel to construct the 65-kilometer (40 mile) joint Ministry of Defense and IDF project.

The barrier features a 6 meter (20 feet) high above-ground “smart fence,” a maritime defense system to detect infiltration by sea, a remote-controlled weapons system wall, hundreds of cameras, radars and other sensors, as well as command and control rooms.

“Routine life here [in southern Israel], is our victory, and it is the greatest threat to terrorist organizations. We will continue to maintain our readiness to thwart any attempt to harm Israeli citizens, with an emphasis on rocket attacks from Gaza. We will also prevent the transfer of Iranian know-how and technology to Gaza, and will continue thwarting any attempt by Hamas to operate its affiliates in Judea and Samaria or anywhere in Israel. Their attempts have failed time and again,” Minister Gantz proclaimed, underscoring that, “In order to change the reality in Gaza, our demands are simple and clear – halting Hamas’ military build-up, long-term quiet, and the return of our boys [MIAs]. We are working tirelessly to achieve this. I advise Hamas to deal with these issues and not focus on threats.”

Israel and Hamas have fought 4 deadly conflicts since the Islamist group seized control the coastal Gaza Strip in a bitter internecine 2007 war from rival forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

During the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict this past May, Hamas and other Islamist terror groups fired more than 4,300 rockets at Israel, which deployed Iron Dome interceptors against them and retaliated with extensive air strikes on Gaza.

Egypt has also been engaged in destroying Hamas terror tunnels under the 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) border it shares with Hamas, and clamped down on crossings due to security concerns.