Jerusalem, 7 December, 2021 (TPS) — Israel officially completed the construction of the “smart” barrier fence around the Gaza Strip, its defense line from attacks by terror groups above ground and terror tunnels running into the country below ground.
The 65 km long barrier includes an underground concrete component with sensors, an above-ground fence, a naval barrier to prevent incursions from the sea, radar systems, and command and control rooms to prevent infiltrations from the Gaza strip into Israeli territory.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated during a special inauguration ceremony on Tuesday that “the barrier, which is an innovative and technologically advanced project, deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it tried to develop and places an ‘iron wall’, sensors and concrete between the terror organization and the residents of Israel’s south.”
“This barrier will provide Israeli citizens a sense of security and will enable this beautiful region to continue developing and flourishing,” he added.
“Routine life here [in southern Israel] is our victory, and it is the greatest threat to terrorist organizations. We will continue to maintain our readiness to thwart any attempt to harm Israeli citizens, with an emphasis on rocket attacks from Gaza. We will also prevent the transfer of Iranian know-how and technology to Gaza, and will continue thwarting any attempt by Hamas to operate its affiliates in Judea and Samaria or anywhere in Israel. Their attempts have failed time and again,” he declared.
The defense barrier is comprised of five elements that complement each other, including an underground barrier with sensors to detect digging of tunnels, a “smart” fence over 6 meters high, a maritime barrier that includes means to detect infiltrations at sea and a weapon system that is controlled remotely, an array of radars and cameras, and command and control rooms.
More than 1,200 workers were involved in the barrier’s construction, six concrete plants were established along the border with the Gaza Strip to provide the required materials, about 220,000 trucks of concrete were used, and some 140,000 tons of iron and steel were invested in the construction of the barrier.
The project, which was initiated and promoted by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was planned and built jointly by the Ministry of Defense and the IDF.
He was not invited to the ceremony.
Netanyahu celebrated that “historic day.” He recalled that in June 2016, five years ago, he brought a decision to the Cabinet to build an underground wall around the Gaza Strip.
“This decision had great opposition, as there was similar opposition to the construction of the fence they initiated on our southern border [with Egypt], which stopped the flooding of Israel with infiltrators. We insisted, we did not give up – and the project got underway. Today it was officially inaugurated,” he noted.
He further pointed out that the underground barrier has already saved many lives. During its construction, the IDF exposed and demolished several Hamas-built terror tunnels infiltrating into Israel.