Wednesday, February 21st | 12 Adar I 5784

December 28, 2014 2:47 pm

Israel Deploying Underwater Barrier, Sonar Array Against Hezbollah Divers (VIDEO)

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avatar by Dave Bender

PointShield Diver detection sonar. Photo: DSIT.

PointShield Diver detection sonar. Photo: DSIT.

Under the watchful eyes of the Israeli Navy, private US and EU firms are deploying a defensive barrier and sonar array along the country’s maritime border with Lebanon, meant to foil Hezbollah undersea infiltrations, Israel’s Ch. 2 News reported Sunday.

Israeli security officials believe Hezbollah has built or acquired an array of undersea weapons and delivery systems to be used against Israel in future conflicts.

While the exact details and location of the Israeli picket system are classified, its purpose is to prevent the infiltration of divers, swimmers, and submersible craft into Israeli territory.

A similar barrier has been in operation south of Zikim beach, along Israel’s maritime border with Gaza, and was instrumental in thwarting two raids by Hamas naval commandos during Operation Protective Edge this summer.

IDF observer units at Zikim were responsible for spotting and coordinating forces to foil two near-identical attempted attacks on July 8th and on July 9th.

Ground troops, helicopters and offshore patrol craft quickly engaged the terror squads from the moment they tried to reach the shore, and closed on them before they could reach populated areas.

According to one analyst “There are currently two companies in the world capable of dealing with undersea threats,” including Israel’s DSIT.

“There are now three main threats in this space,” Yakov (Yaki) Baranes, a senior analyst told Jewish Business News after the foiled attacks from Gaza.

“One is an ordinary diver swimming under his own power, who penetrates a closed area or gets close to energy infrastructure in the open sea or on the beach. Another threat is divers riding an undersea vehicle, and a third, which has become more relevant in recent years, is unmanned undersea systems that can be operated remotely without endangering the divers.”

“When the threat is detected so early, the enemy obviously does not have much of a chance,” Baranes noted.

On Dec. 16th, Israel Defense published an interview with naval security officials responsible for ongoing security arrangements at the Lebanese, Gaza, and Red Sea areas.

“The hotter and more relevant section is the area near Rosh Hanikra,” on the northwest Mediterranean coast, according to the Navy’s 914th Squadron commander, Lt.-Col. Ronen Hajaj.

“This routine is a very tense one. It is a routine where you are fully aware that the other side is engaged in procurement, outfitting, planning – but outwardly everything is quiet and there are vacationers and holidaymakers, while the danger lurks just a few meters away from all the civilians out there. It is a very tense tranquility and sometimes it is interrupted.

“We must be alert and well-prepared at all times,” Hajaj said. “There is no actual fence at sea, and we must seal the sector using radar resources in order to detect divers and have people constantly observing the systems and examining vessels out at sea all the time, ready to scramble and intercept, winter and summer.”

Despite the growing threat of Hamas maritime incursions into Israeli waters from the south, Hajaj insisted that, “It is no secret that the threats imposed on naval vessels in the south are far less severe than the threats we face in the northern sector. The northern sector is much more threatening. Shore-to-sea missiles, antitank missiles and guns that may be used to engage naval targets. Hezbollah has everything planned regarding guns and the deployment of naval radars. The south is nothing compared to the threat we are expecting in the north.

“The northern border is far less stable,” Hajaj assessed.

“The routine security operations are highly dynamic and every week we have a fresh situation appraisal in view of the intelligence received. We have upgraded our diver spotting capabilities. Hezbollah has a naval unit that includes divers. This story of the underwater activity was a vulnerability until about a year ago, but today we have addressed this issue, too. The post at Rosh Hanikra seals the entire area just as we require when the alert state is raised.

“The feeling here is that the border is not stable at all and that the tranquility in Rosh Hanikra is misleading …  If someone starts up the engines and attempts to land on our shore, it will be just a matter of seconds. Whether I succeed in intercepting them or not is a matter of seconds.”

Watch an Israeli TV report on the new underwater barrier:

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