An employee of the Palestinian Authority stands guard on the Palestinian side of the Erez checkpoint between Israel and Gaza, at Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. The Islamic militant Hamas group has handed over control of Gaza’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority. Wednesday’s handover was the first tangible step in implementing a reconciliation deal between Hamas and the rival Fatah party, which controls the Palestinian Authority. (Photo: AP)
Israel says it has started reinforcing its border fence with the Gaza Strip, erecting a galvanized steel barrier six meters (20 feet) high that will run the length of territory.
Israel’s Defense Ministry issued a statement Sunday saying it had commenced construction of an above-ground barrier that complements a subterranean wall aimed at thwarting Hamas attack tunnels beneath the border.
The fence’s construction comes after months of mass protests by Palestinians in Gaza along the border. Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since they began last March. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper last July.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the new barrier “will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground.”