In April Israel announced a major upgrade to the Gaza security fence, one that would finally deal with Hamas tunnels into Israel. The tunnel problem (and the difficulty in detecting them) had become a big issue in Israel, mainly because a recently released government document showed that within the government there was a lot of anger at the military for not detecting the extent of the Hamas tunnels into Israel until the mid-2014 war in Gaza. The military managed to keep much of this dispute quiet as it sought a solution. Now the military believes it has one. The main result of this a new security fence being built along the Gaza border. Costing at least two billion dollars, it won’t be complete until 2018.
The effectiveness of the new tech has been confirmed by tests against new Hamas tunnels. Two of these tunnels have been found so far, one of them over 30 meters (a hundred feet) deep. The new fence will be built in sections, with the first construction near towns and villages very close to the Gaza border. In part this is because these places contain thousands of voters who have been very vocal about their vulnerability. This included numerous reports that, at night, some residents could faintly hear underground activity.
While the government will not, for obvious reasons, release any details of the new sensors it is known that there has been a lot of work done elsewhere on this subject, mainly in support for the search of oil and natural gas deposits underground as well as for earthquake detection and prediction. The government also points out that the tunnel builders have proven very capable at coming up with new ways to mask their activity from these sensors. But the current generation of sensors are considered good enough to justify two billion dollars in upgrades to the current Gaza security fence.
Another factor that the government admitted was very helpful was the recent capture and interrogation of several Gaza men with experience in the tunnel buildings. One of those captured had a lot of recent experience building the tunnels and supplied lots of details. A lot of this new data was confirmed with the new newly discovered tunnels.
Since 2014 it has been no secret (to Israelis, the Gaza population and the foreign aid donors) that Hamas was spending a lot of money and effort on rebuilding “combat tunnels” destroyed by Israel during the mid-2014 “50 Day War”. In 2014 the Israeli military said they would erect a detection system to locate new tunnels so they could be destroyed. Installing the new detection system was delayed, officially because of defense spending cuts, but the real reason was the new tech needed was not ready yet and not enough was known about how the new tunnels were being built. All that has apparently changed in 2016.
The Gaza fence upgrade will also include new sensors and communications systems to detect people trying to get across it at ground level. This includes more automated weapons which, once a human verifies the infiltrator is human and ignoring commands to halt, can have the automated machine-guns open fire.