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Israel announces completion of Gaza barrier to end attack tunnel threat

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A portion of the 40-mile barrier along the Gaza Strip, upon completion on December 7, 2021. (Defense Ministry)
A portion of the 40-mile barrier along the Gaza Strip, upon completion on December 7, 2021. (Defense Ministry)

In the shadow of a 10-meter high concrete wall, Defense Minister Benny Gantz announces that after three and a half years and NIS 3.5 billion ($1.1 billion), the Defense Ministry had completed construction of a massive barrier around the Gaza Strip, above and below ground, which Israel hopes will end the threat of cross-border attack tunnels from the Palestinian enclave.

“This barrier, a creative, technological project of the first order, denies Hamas one of the capabilities that it tried to develop and puts a wall of iron, sensors and concrete between it and the residents of the south,” Gantz says at the ceremony.

Gantz warns that Israel could be currently seeing a “calm before the storm,” following recent threats by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups over what they describe as slow reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz announces Israel has completed construction of a massive barrier around the Gaza Strip, to end threat of cross-border attack tunnels (Ariel Hermony/Defense Ministry)

Since May’s 11-day conflict in Gaza, Israel and Hamas have been negotiating an extended ceasefire, which would see additional aid and international assistance flow into Gaza in exchange for calm. However, Israel has conditioned full reconstruction on the return of two Israeli civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers from Hamas captivity, whom the terror group insists it will only release in exchange for the release of large numbers of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons. Jerusalem has refused this.

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