Israel begins construction on a new barrier surrounding Gaza

Six-metre tall wall will prevent Palestinians from infiltrating Israel from the Gaza Strip

Photo: EPA Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel announced it has started reinforcing its border fence with the Gaza Strip, erecting a galvanised steel barrier six-metre high that will run the length of territory. According to officials the "above-ground barrier" is aimed at preventing Palestinians, or as Israel calls them - 'terrorists',  from infiltrating the Jewish state's territory.

"The barrier will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Twitter. "If the quiet is not maintained in Gaza, we will make the decisions even in the elections period and will not hesitate to act."

Later on, in a statement Israel's Defense Ministry gave further details, saying that the new steel barrier will completely surround the Gaza Strip and is set to follow the 65km course of the subterranean system, meant to thwart the cross-border Hamas tunnels dug beneath the border. It will also connect to the barrier system constructed out into the Mediterranean Sea aimed at halting infiltration from the sea. The entire project is expected to cost at least $833m and be completed by the end of 2019, according to the Times of Israel.

The construction of the new fence comes after months of violent mass protests along the border by Palestinians in Gaza. Rockets are routinely fired from Gaza toward southern Israel, and Palestinians have also turned to kites and balloons outfitted with incendiary devices as the latest weapon of terror.

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