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March 16, 2010

In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict

The reinforced underground steel wall which Egypt is building along its border with Gaza is nearly completed, Egyptian daily al-Shorouq reported Monday.

“Work on the main wall is in its fourth and final stage,” the paper reported. Once that is complete, cameras and detection devices will be installed.

The process will take “a few weeks,” followed by a testing period overseen by Egyptian and international experts.

The observation towers along the border are currently being replaced by new steel towers which employ bullet-proof glass.

General Sameh Seif al-Yazl, head of the Republic’s Center for
Security and Political Studies, said the towers had not been part of the original security plan.

“The death of soldier Ahmed Shaaban by Palestinian fire while he was in an observation tower led the authorities to look into building protective towers,” he said, according to al-Shorouq.

Egypt says it is building the barrier to stop illegal arms smuggling. Smugglers have used cross-border tunnels to bring basic commodities, drugs and weapons into the Gaza Strip since the imposition of Israel’s blockade of the territory in 2007, when Hamas took control of Gaza.

Smugglers have dismissed the barrier as ineffective, saying they will simply tunnel deeper, and that many of the tunnels are, in any case, already deeper than the new wall’s reported depth of 20 meters.