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Military Capabilities

Israel-Gaza underground wall to be finished in 2019

14 August 2017

The underground wall that Israel is building to prevent Palestinian militants tunnelling under the border of the Gaza Strip will be completed within two years, Major General Eyal Zamir, head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command, told reporters on 9 August.

The IDF released images on 10 August showing the locations of entrances to militant tunnels in the Gaza Strip to highlight how Hamas is endangering civilians. (Israel Defense Forces)The IDF released images on 10 August showing the locations of entrances to militant tunnels in the Gaza Strip to highlight how Hamas is endangering civilians. (Israel Defense Forces)

“In the coming months, this project will be significantly accelerated. We will see an expansion of the scope of works," he said.

Construction of the underground barrier began in 2014, after Hamas used cross-border tunnels to infiltrate attack teams into Israel during Operation ‘Protective Edge’. It initially focused on protecting the Israeli communities closest to the Gaza Strip.

IDF officials have indicated that, as well as being a physical barrier, the wall has sensors that will provide alerts of tunnelling activity. They have estimated that it will cost NIS150 million per kilometre, which would mean the entire project will cost around USD1.5 billion.

Maj Gen Zamir said that the Southern Command’s assessment is that “the Gazan arena is stable” three years after Operation ‘Protective Edge’. “We see that Hamas remains deterred and that it is restraining many attacks [by smaller armed organisations],” he said.

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