The Defense Ministry is soon set to submit for government approval a plan to construct fortifications for 26 towns in the area surrounding Gaza at an estimated cost of over NIS 300 million ($64.6 million), Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.
The plan is expected to include the installation of 1,629 reinforced “secure rooms” in homes within rocket range at a cost of NIS 250 million, and the fortification of schools between 7 and 15 kilometers distant from the Gaza Strip by the end of 2013. The proposal is expected to be approved during a government meeting scheduled for Sunday.
The Defense Ministry’s reinforcement plan was announced in response to a barrage of more than 80 rockets and mortars fired from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday that damaged eight homes in five Israeli towns near Gaza.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Channel 2 Wednesday night that “we will do whatever is necessary in order to return residents of southern Israel to ordinary life.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised residents of southern Israel that he would fortify every building in communities 4.5 to 7 kilometers (2.7 to 4.3 miles) from the Strip, in which, until now, only educational facilities had been protected.
Barak told Army Radio on Wednesday that “There are about 1,700 households that need fortification, but, that said, the situation was a lot more difficult in the past because there was no Iron Dome” (missile defense system).
The Defense Ministry has, as of now, constructed protective installations in towns within 4.5 kilometers (2.7 miles) of the Israel-Gaza border at a cost of NIS 1 billion. Fortifying the schools within 7 kilometers from the Gaza Strip cost the Defense Ministry an additional NIS 80 million.