Israel erecting sea barrier to prevent Gaza infiltrators | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 27.05.2018
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Middle East

Israel erecting sea barrier to prevent Gaza infiltrators

The barrier, a few kilometers north of Gaza, is expected to be a fortified breakwater topped with barbed wire. The "one-of-a-kind" blockade is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

Israel has begun working on a barrier off the Mediterranean coast to prevent infiltrations by sea from the Gaza strip, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The "impenetrable" barrier is expected to be completed by the end of this year, more than four years after a group of Hamas militants managed to enter Israel by sea during the last Gaza war in 2014.

"This is a unique obstacle that will effectively prevent the possibility of penetrating Israel by sea," Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.

"This is another blow to Hamas, which will lose yet another strategic ability in which it invested vast amounts of money," he said.

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The barrier is being built off the Zikim beach, a few kilometers north of Gaza. It is expected to be a fortified breakwater topped with barbed wire.

The ministry did not provide any further details on the project.

The sea fortification comes as Israel continues to secure its borders with reinforcements including an underground barrier meant to prevent infiltrations through tunnels.

Tensions have worsened between Israel and the Palestinians in the aftermath of the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and the deaths of over 100 Palestinians by Israeli fire during mass protests along the Gaza border.

Breaching naval blockade

Separately, a coalition of protesters said on Sunday they would attempt to break Israel's naval blockade next Tuesday by sailing a protest boat beyond the designated fishing area.

"We decided to take the initiative to lift the siege and emphasize the rights of our people," the coalition said.

Israel restricts boats from Gaza sailing beyond a designated fishing zone that spans 6 nautical miles (11 kilometers, 7 miles). Israeli border guards have previously shot at Gazans on fishing vessels to enforce the naval blockade.

ap/jm (AFP, dpa)

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