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January 2, 2013 10:30 am

Major Section of Israeli Border Fence with Egypt Completed, Reducing Number of Infiltrators to Near Zero

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Looking north along Egypt-Israel border north of Eilat.

The central part of one of the largest building projects in Israel’s history was officially completed on Wednesday. The Ministry of Defense finished the main section of the border fence with Egypt on Wednesday.  The 143 mile stretch of fence, from Kerem Shalom to Netafim, took two years to build, approximately half the time that was originally planned for its construction.

The fence has all but eliminated illegal immigration into Israel. According to statistics provided by the Prime Minister’s Office, 2,153 illegal immigrants entered Israel’s cities in January 2012 compared to just 36 in December of 2012, all of whom were placed in detention.

The new fence is made up of 45,000 tons of steel and quantities of earth which could fill 1.67 million trucks.

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Brig.-Gen. Eran Ofir noted that the fence will not only stem the flow of illegal immigrants, but also protect Israel from terrorist infiltration. “Just as Iron Dome defends Israel’s skies, the fence is an iron wall defending Israel’s border.”

Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the Sinai has reportedly become a hotbed of terrorism. Several incidents have taken place along Israel’s border with Egypt, including one in September that left one IDF soldier dead and another wounded after terrorists opened fire on their patrol unit.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the conclusion of the project, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touted the success of the fence. “For seven months, not one infiltrator has reached Israel’s cities,” he said, adding “This is a great achievement. You did the impossible. I would like to convey to you the gratitude of all Israelis.”

The last 7.5 mile section of the border fence in the Eilat mountainous region is expected to be completed in May.

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