Israel to Build Underground Barrier to Prevent Hamas Tunnels

A Palestinian terrorist from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, inside an underground tunnel in Gaza in a rare tour with a Reuters reporter, photographer and cameraman. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
A Palestinian terrorist from the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, inside an underground tunnel in Gaza in 2014. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) - Defense officials say that Israel has begun work on an underground barrier along the border with Gaza meant to block Hamas terrorists from tunneling into Israel.

The officials say the concrete barrier is set to run hundreds of feet deep and will ultimately stretch along the entire border with Gaza. Israel is currently building an initial phase of the barrier over a small stretch of land measuring dozens of meters.

Work crews were busy along the Israel-Gaza border Thursday using cranes and heavy machinery. Caravans are scattered around the site, while large metal pipes run along the ground.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified matter, say the barrier’s construction could take years. Hamas terrorists have used underground tunnels repeatedly to attack Israelis.