New sea and land barriers to isolate Gaza
Israel is building a three-layered sea barrier, with one level below water. A new six-metre barrier with sensors is also being built on land. Tensions are rising with rocket fire and airstrikes.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel has started to build a new barrier around the Gaza Strip.
The new structure will block the passage by sea and will be built along with a new wall along the land border, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced on Sunday.
Building began at the northern Gaza border, on Zikim beach. The construction is expected to continue through the end of the year.
The barrier will consist of three layers. The first will be below the water; the second will be made of stone; the third will be made of barbed wire. An additional fence will surround the sea fence.
Israel decided to erect a sea barrier in 2014, when several Hamas gunmen entered the country by sea.
The barrier is being built simultaneously with an inland underground barrier around the Gaza border, which includes a concrete wall fitted with sensors standing six metres high from ground level.
The construction is taking place amid renewed tensions. As Palestinians continue their weekly protests – albeit on a smaller scale after the death of 60 people on 14 May – Israel and Hamas are again at loggerheads.
Today Israel carried out an airstrike in central Gaza against Islamic Jihad in response to a barrage of 28 mortar shells fired by Hamas toward Israel, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
The mortar attack was in retaliation to the death of three members of Islamic Jihad, killed in a raid two days ago.
No Israeli casualties were reported, but a rocket slightly damaged the courtyard of a kindergarten (picture 3).
The new barriers will intensify the blockade already imposed on the almost 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip, whose only points out are the Rafah crossing with Egypt and Erez with Israel.
Many define Gaza as an open-air prison, whose humanitarian crisis is going from bad to worse and from where it is almost impossible to leave.