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Israel moves ahead on underground wall around Gaza

By AFP - Aug 10,2017 - Last updated at Aug 10,2017

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel is pushing ahead with a project to build a giant underground wall around the Gaza Strip to block tunnels that could be used for attacks, the army said on Thursday.

The project comes after the government faced heavy criticism over Hamas' use of tunnels in the 2014 Gaza war, with a state inquiry earlier this year accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and army top brass of having been unprepared for the threat.

"In the coming months, we are going to accelerate the construction of the barrier," Major General Eyal Zamir told journalists.

"We hope that construction will be complete in two years."

 Army radio reported that the wall, comprising concrete planks and sensors, will stretch some 64 kilometres .

It is expected to be some six metres high and 40 metres  deep, and cost around 3 billion shekels (710 million euros, $834 million).

It will also include an offshore barrier intended to stop sea-based commando attacks.

Construction Minister Yoav Galant, also a former military commander, said the wall will be built in Israeli territory parallel to the border fence sealing off the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas.

"The fact that the work will be located in our sovereign territory rules out any justification for attacks against those working there," Galant told army radio.

A military official made similar comments to AFP on condition of anonymity, saying "the barrier's purpose is defensive only". 

The army also distributed photographs of what it said were two civilian buildings in the north of the Gaza Strip with tunnel entrances within.

Zamir said that "Hamas is digging tunnels under civilian homes in the Gaza Strip and will be held responsible if we are forced to attack targets," he said.

“Residents must understand that we consider those buildings as legitimate targets and that those who live there are putting their lives in danger.”

 Hamas also built a vast network of tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt to smuggle goods and allegedly weapons.

The Israeli army found and destroyed several tunnels during the 2014 war, while Egypt has also destroyed smuggling tunnels.

Israel launched three wars against the Gaza Strip since the group wrested control of the territory from the rival Fateh movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

 

The war killed 2,251 Palestinians and left 100,000 homeless, according to the United Nations.

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Comments

Israel are determined to turn Gaza into an officially structured concentration camp. They are building underground walls to compliment the fences and no-go zones, and shoot-to-kill policies, and regular incursions and airstrikes. Did the Nazis ever launch such airstrikes and artillery bombardments on the Warsaw Ghettos? Such is Israel...

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