Israel says its completed anti-tunnel 'iron wall' around Gaza
The barrier, stretching across 40 miles, is linked with an overhead fence, a sea barrier, a detection system, and shooting observatories, Israeli military spokesman Avichai Adraei said in a press statement.
The wall took three and a half years to build and cost $1.1 billion.
"Israel has built the most complex project to prevent the threats of the Hamas tunnels," Adraei said. "Israel is committed to protecting its citizens from any danger emanating from the Gaza Strip."
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz spoke during the inauguration ceremony for the wall.
"This barrier, a creative, technological project of the first order, denies Hamas one of the capabilities that it tried to develop and places an 'iron wall,' sensors and concrete between the terror organization and the residents of Israel's south," Gantz said.
The Gaza Strip witnessed four fierce wars between armed Palestinian factions and Israel between 2008 and 2021, during which Israel inflicted devastating damage to the coastal enclave and killed or wounded thousands of Palestinians.
The military wing of the Hamas movement governing Gaza had repeatedly used the tunnels in the confrontation with the Israeli army. The most notorious incident occurred in 2006 with the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israel announced it was building the wall after Hamas kidnapped and killed soldiers Hadar Goldin and Aaron Shaul during the 2014 Israeli war, saying it wanted to prevent more soldiers from suffering the same fate.
A source close to Hamas who preferred not to be named told The New Arab that the Israeli army's costly efforts to confront the Palestinian resistance will not bear fruit.
He said the Palestinian resistance is developing its offensive tools against Israel, including aerial weaponry.
"If Israel could prevent tunnel attacks, it would certainly not succeed in avoiding air attacks, especially the resistance's missiles that can reach most Israeli cities," the source said.
"If we want to compare the capabilities of the resistance in 2008 and 2021, we will find that there has been a significant development in the offensive capacity of the Palestinians," the source said, adding that "there is no doubt that it is capable of launching air, sea, or land strikes against Israel in the event of a new military confrontation."