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IDF to beef up Gaza border fence as protests persist

New barrier equipped with surveillance cameras, sensors to be modeled on large fence constructed along Egypt border

Gazan demonstrators approach the border fence with Israel during clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops on October 9, 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)
Gazan demonstrators approach the border fence with Israel during clashes with Israel Defense Forces troops on October 9, 2015. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

The IDF on Wednesday said it would begin building a new border fence with the Gaza Strip in an effort to bolster security and prevent Palestinians from being able to breach the barrier into Israel.

According to officials, the high-tech electronic fence will stretch for 65 kilometers (40 miles) along the entire length of the border between Israel and Gaza.

The current border is marked by a smaller barbed-wire fence equipped with sensors and surveillance cameras, but will be replaced with one similar to the barrier built over the past few years along the Egyptian border, which is 7 meters (21 feet) high at its highest point.

Surveillance cameras and other sensors are installed along that barrier, which was built to keep African asylum-seekers from sneaking into Israel and as an anti-terror measure.

There were several incidents over the past week in which Palestinians from the Gaza Strip breached the fence with Israel, though each time they were successfully repelled by IDF troops.

On Friday some 200 protesters approached the fence and soldiers dispersed them forcefully after they refused to turn back. At least nine Palestinians were killed in that incident and dozens were wounded.

Rioters cut the border fence on Monday and briefly entered Israel before IDF troops repulsed them.

On Tuesday, in two separate incidents — one in the northern Strip and one in the southern — dozens of Palestinians broke through the border fence into Israel. In both cases the military refrained from using lethal means and dispersed the protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas.

During the second demonstration on Tuesday, Palestinians opened fire at the vehicle of a senior IDF officer which was patrolling near the border fence in the central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported but the officer’s car was damaged.

The military closed the Erez border crossing into the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday after that day’s events.

On Wednesday dozens of Palestinians demonstrated near the fence and IDF soldiers manning the border east of the Bureij refugee camp fired warning shots at two people who approached the fence, injuring them, Ynet reported.

The Hamas Health Ministry spokesperson said three people were injured by live fire from Israel near the border fence.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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