It is expected to cost tens of millions of shekels. The Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office are currently discussing where the budget for its construction will come from.
The wall, which is meant to provide nearby communities with additional protection from terrorist infiltration, comes in addition to another barrier of large sand berms and tree plantings to protect citizens from threats, such as anti-tank fire emanating from the Strip following the death of an Israeli civilian by a Kornet anti-tank missile fired at his car in May.
Israel’s new, upgraded barrier with the Strip is expected to be completed by next summer – both above and below ground – to remove the threat of cross-border attack tunnels and stop terrorists from Gaza, who are intent on carrying out attacks from infiltrating into southern Israel.
But even as work on the barrier continues, six armed Palestinians were able to infiltrate into southern Israel in less than two weeks before being engaged by IDF troops and killed.
On Sunday, Israeli troops shot and killed 26 year-old Marwan Nasser, who opened fire on them while trying to infiltrate into southern Israel. No Israelis were hurt in the incident and surrounding communities were not placed under increased security.
During his funeral, Nasser was seen wearing a green bandanna associated with Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.
The incident came 24 hours after IDF troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians who attempted to infiltrate with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), AK-47 assault rifles and grenades.
While the military hasn’t yet determined which group is behind the foiled attack, they put the responsibility of the attack squarely on Hamas.
They were identified as former Hamas members: Abdullah Ismail al-Hamaida, 21, Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghomri, 19, Ahmad Ayman al-Adeini, 20, and Abdallah al-Masri, 21 all of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
On August 1, an IDF officer and two soldiers were injured and a Hamas militant was killed in an exchange of fire at the border in the area of Kissufim in southern Israel.
Identified as Hani Abu Salah, he was a member of Hamas’s border patrol, as well as the brother of Fadi Abu Salah, a disabled Palestinian man who was killed by IDF fire during one of the weekly “March of Return” protests along the border last May. He had been wearing a uniform and was armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov when he infiltrated into Israeli territory from the southern edge of the Hamas-run enclave.
Demonstrators have been burning tires and hurling stones and marbles, as well as doing other types of violence, which include the throwing of grenades and improvised explosive devices (including military-grade explosives) toward troops. Ball bearings and other projectiles are also launched by high-velocity slingshots toward forces along the border.
Approximately 70,000 Israelis reside in over 50 communities in the Gaza border area. More people have moved to the area since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
But over the past year, there have been 10 rounds of violent conflict, causing residents to interrupt their daily lives and remain close to bomb shelters since they only have some 15 seconds to find shelter from rocket and mortar fire. The last round of violence in early May saw over 700 rockets fired, killing five civilians.
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