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Israel moves forward with barrier to block Hamas tunnels

As Israel prepares to erect underground barriers to prevent Hamas from digging tunnels, some worry that the movement will act to obstruct its construction.
A Palestinian fighter from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, gestures inside an underground tunnel in Gaza in this August 18, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/Files - RTX2AF59
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The Israeli state comptroller report issued Feb. 28 harshly criticized the government and military for not being prepared to confront the danger of the tunnels dug by Hamas on the eastern border of Gaza through which the movement's fighters carried out several military operations against army positions during the summer 2014 war. In response, Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, told Knesset members on March 22 that the army had made numerous efforts since the 2014 Gaza war to counter Hamas' tunnels in eastern Gaza and is currently building a barrier to prevent Hamas from using the tunnels in any future military confrontation with Israel.

On April 5, Yedioth Ahronoth published pictures of a cement factory north of the Gaza Strip that will reportedly be involved in constructing the barrier. The structure will cost $1 billion; it will be 65 kilometers long and constructed in segments above ground and underground along the border in northern and eastern Gaza to be able to detect the tunnels’ location. The paper quoted an anonymous source from the Israeli Defense Ministry as saying that engineering equipment and vehicles will be operating in 40 posts in the upcoming weeks, along with 2,000 workers and large military contingents to protect them.

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