Israel recently announced plans to build an underground wall along its 37-mile border with Gaza to thwart Hamas’ sophisticated underground network of tunnels and bunkers. Hamas, which said Gazans are gearing up for the next war, used tunnels to smuggle weapons, supplies and fighters to attack Israel during the 50-day conflict that began July 8, 2014.
The Ministry of Defense refused to comment on details or timelines for the new plan, but the Israeli military did lift the gag order on the project as the country prepares to mark the anniversary.
Construction of the concrete barrier will cost $570 million and stretch dozens of miles below and above ground, according to the Israeli Ynet news website. The underground wall will replace a wire fence in place since 2005, when Israel withdrew from Gaza.
The Israeli army has also spent more than $330 million in the past two years on developing an underground sonar detection system as a defense against the tunnel threat, security analyst Yossi Melman wrote last month in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
While technological progress has remained confidential, Israel has made minor headway in locating tunnels using traditional intelligence methods. The Israeli daily Haaretz recently reported that Bassam Mahmoud Baraka, a senior Hamas member, had “defected” to Israel and potentially shared details about Gaza’s intricate tunnel network, the second such case to lead Israel to locate tunnels.
Several years ago Egypt began constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels. The wall is about 10-11km (6-7 miles) long and extends 18 meters below the surface.
Hamas charges an annual $2,500 for the right to operate a tunnel from Gaza to Egypt.
Construction of the barrier was damaging dozens of smuggling tunnels as deep as 30 meters, causing them to collapse on a nearly daily basis and killing operators, especially tunnels near the Rafah border terminal. They added that most of the 1,500 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt remained unaffected.
Trump plans to cut off a portion of the funds sent to Mexico through money transfers known as remittances. His plan would also bar non-Americans from wiring money outside of the U.S. unless they can provide documentation establishing their legal status in the country.
Trump said he would withdraw the threat if Mexico makes a one-time payment to finance the wall.
“It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,” the memo reads.
SOURCES- USA Today, BBC News, Wikipedia