Israel revealed on Sunday February 3rd that work to “strengthen” its border with the Gaza Strip had entered a new phase, with construction starting on a massive new barrier along the frontier, AFP reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the weekly cabinet meeting, "Over the weekend we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border." The barrier, reaching six metres (20 feet) in height, "will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground", he added to journalists in Hebrew. Netanyahu gave no further details but a defence ministry statement said that work on the structure began on January 31st, according to AFP.
The barrier is set to follow the 65-kilometre (40-mile) course of an underground barrier also under construction meant to neutralise, what the statement described as the, “threat of cross-border tunnels built by Gaza militants.”
At its western end, the statement mentioned, the above-ground barrier would join a fortified sea wall jutting into the Mediterranean, aimed at blocking Palestinian attacks by water. In an accompanying video clip, the defence ministry said, "It's massive and especially strong."
At least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since March 30th 2018, the majority during border protests but also by tank fire and airstrikes. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed during the same period.