Bank security

Israel begins engineering work to repair holes along West Bank security fence amid wave of terror

IDF efforts to strengthen the security barrier in the West Bank. Photo: Security Fences and Borders Administration, Israeli Ministry of Defense

Israel has begun engineering work to repair holes and other breaches along tens of kilometers of the West Bank security barrier in the “seam line” area, to prevent the illegal entry of Palestinians after the recent wave of terrorist attacks.

The Defense Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday that engineering works had been initiated to “reinforce and improve the buffer zone near the Judea and Samaria security fence”.

“Our mission is to secure the security fence in order to prevent illegal infiltration,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said during a tour of the fence. “We will continue to act everywhere, with all the necessary means and for as long as it takes to fight terrorism.”

“Over the past few days, we have reinforced the area significantly with troops and engineering assets to improve the defensive infrastructure of the security barrier,” Kochavi noted.

The move comes after a tour of the West Bank security fence by Kochavi, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Deputy Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

“We will continue to work deep in the region to arrest terrorists, their collaborators and arms dealers,” Gantz said. “Anywhere, anytime and with all the force necessary.”

The engineering works, led by the head of the Defense Ministry’s Security Fences and Borders Administration, Eran Ophir, include repairing breaches in the fence and digging trenches to prevent illegal vehicle crossings . Kochavi also tasked the IDF’s chief combat engineering officer, Ido Mizrahi, with fortifying defenses along known infiltration routes, in coordination with Central Command engineering units.

The IDF said that after an assessment of the situation, it would equip the engineer units with three units of heavy machinery and send reservists from Central Command’s Combat Engineer Corps to help with the effort.

Other Combat Engineer Corps engineering tools will be deployed in the buffer zone near the security fence. The IDF, security forces and police have stepped up counterterrorism operations in recent days following an upsurge in violence and terror attacks over the past month, which killed 14 people. Two of the perpetrators entered Israel illegally by taking advantage of loopholes in the fence and then carrying out deadly attacks.

On Tuesday, Gantz announced a plan to grant tens of thousands more work permits to Palestinians. An estimated 100,000 Palestinians are currently entering Israel legally to work after being vetted by the Israeli Security Agency and receiving an Israeli permit.