Israel’s defense establishment will begin building an additional wall along the northern part of Gaza border fence to protect communities after three infiltrations along the border in under two weeks.
According to a report on Israel’s Channel 12, the Defense Ministry is planning to build a 6 m. (20 feet) high defensive wall inside Israeli territory along a 9 km. stretch of Route 34 between the communities Yad Mordechai and Sderot.
It is expected to cost tens of millions of shekels and the Defense Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office are currently discussing where the budget for its construction will come from.
The additional wall, which is meant to provide nearby communities with additional protection from terrorist infiltrations, comes in addition to another barrier, large sand berms and planting of trees to protect citizens from threats like 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 – both above and underground – by next summer to remove the threat of cross-border attack tunnels and stop terrorists from Gaza intent on carrying out attacks from infiltrating into southern Israel.
But even as work on the barrier continues, in less than two weeks six armed Palestinians were able to infiltrate into southern Israel 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’ 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.
The four militants were identified as former Hamas members: 21-ear-old Abdullah Ismail al-Hamaida, 19-year-old Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghomri, 20-year-old Ahmad Ayman al-Adeini and 21-year-old Abdallah al-Masri, 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, who was a member of Hamas’ border patrol, he was the brother of Fadi Abu Salah, a disabled Palestinian man who was killed by IDF fire during one of the weekly Great 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.
The Great March of Return border protests began on March 30 and have seen over half a million people violently demonstrating along the security fence demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade, congregating at points along the border range between several thousand to 45,000 every Friday.
Demonstrators have been burning tires and hurling stones and marbles as, well as other types of violence, which include the throwing of grenades and improvised explosive devices (including military-grade explosives) towards troops. Ball bearings and other projectiles are also launched by high-velocity slingshots towards forces along the border.
Approximately 70,000 Israelis reside the over 50 communities in the Gaza border area, and there was a marked increase of people moving to the area over the past five years following Operation Protective Edge in 2016.
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 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 towards southern Israel, which killed five civilians.
Read more: The Jerusalem Post