IDF official: Gaza underground wall should be done in months
search

IDF official: Gaza underground wall should be done in months

Senior figure in Southern Command says concrete and water barrier will make tunneling ‘a deathtrap’ for terror groups — if it gets funded

This February 10, 2016, file photo shows IDF soldiers keeping watch as a machine drills holes in the ground on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip as they search for tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists planning to attack Israel. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
This February 10, 2016, file photo shows IDF soldiers keeping watch as a machine drills holes in the ground on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip as they search for tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists planning to attack Israel. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

A senior Israeli military official said Sunday that a massive underground barrier being built along the Gaza Strip border to defend against Hamas tunnels should be completed in a matter of months, assuming its funding comes through.

The Southern Command official said that the structure will include a wall deep below the ground as well as a fence above ground. Some parts of the roughly 60-kilometer (40-mile) border will also be flooded.

“If the budget comes at the right rate, then the barrier will be built in a matter of months,” the officer said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity under military briefing regulations, said the goal is to turn the underground network into a “death trap” for Hamas.

“We’re putting a lot of effort into that,” he said.

During the 2014 war in the Strip, Hamas terrorists managed on several occasions to make their way into Israel through a tunnel network.

Israel destroyed some 32 tunnels during that conflict. The official said the military is investing great efforts to stop the threat.

Earlier this year, the IDF uncovered two tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory from Gaza, the first such discoveries since the end of the 2014 conflict.

One tunnel discovered in April ran at a depth of approximately 30-40 meters (100 feet) below ground, extending dozens of meters inside Israel from the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas tunnel discovered by the IDF running under the Gaza border into Israel on May 5, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
A Hamas tunnel discovered by the IDF running under the Gaza border into Israel on May 5, 2016. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

In response to reports on the expansive border wall, a senior Hamas official, and several leaders of other Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, vowed to strike Israel should an underground barrier be built along the border.

Ismail Radwan told a Hamas-affiliated news site in June that the project indicated Israel’s “failure to face the tunnels.” He stressed that the wall would “not limit the resistance’s ability to defend our people.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments