Jerusalem, May 28 (IANS) Israel’s Defence Minister on Sunday announced that construction had begun on a marine barrier with the Gaza Strip extending into the Mediterranean Sea.
Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the barrier aimed to prevent any attempts by Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israeli territory through the sea, Efe news reported.
“This is an additional setback for Hamas, which has lost another strategic capability that it has invested massive amounts in developing. We will continue to protect the citizens of Israel with might and sophistication,” Liberman said.
The barrier is to consist of three layers, one of which is to be underwater, and is expected to be completed within a year, the statement added.
During Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, members of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip, managed to swim to Israeli territory and launch an attack on a Israeli army installation before being killed.
Israeli authorities are also constructing an underground barrier beneath the Gaza-Israel boundary to stop Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.
Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.
An independent inquiry into the 2014 war in Gaza by the UN Human Rights Council concluded that “the tunnels were only used to conduct attacks directed at IDF (Israeli army) positions in Israel in the vicinity of the Green Line, which are legitimate military targets.”