Middle East

Israel builds ‘missile net’ along eastern border to protect new airport

Israel has built a unique “missile net” to defend a new airport, as part of a newly-completed segment of its eastern border barrier, a military official said Friday.

The 34-kilometer (21-mile) fence runs along Israel’s border with Jordan, beginning near the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat and reaching the site of a new airport being constructed in the Timna Valley.

Building the fence required clearing a number of mines in the area, said Arutz Sheva, which first reported on the barrier.

“The fence will protect the field from the firing of rockets and ground-based missiles,” a military officer told the news outlet. “And it is an innovative and unique invention by the director of the fences, headed by Brigadier General Eran Ophir, who formulated the idea in light of the divisions needs.”

The fence, 6 meters (20 feet) high, is part of a broader strategy by Israel to surround itself with barriers, including at its southwestern border with Egypt, to prevent militants and migrants crossing the border illegally.

Part of the new segment is accompanied by a 26-meter “net” developed specifically to protect the new Ramon airport.

The airport, about 19 kilometres north of Eilat, is expected to begin operation in late 2018 or early 2019 and boost tourism in the area. The opening has been delayed for years by security challenges and disputes with the city of Eilat.

Israel has a multi-layered missile defense array that includes the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems. In March, Israeli and U.S. troops carried out a two-week exercise to simulate missile attacks on Israel from Gaza and Lebanon.

Israel has grown increasingly concerned about missile attacks from Iran-backed forces in neighboring Syria. Earlier this month, the Israel Defense Forces said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds special forces unit fired a rocket from Syria towards the Golan Heights, the first direct attack on Israel by Iran.

With reporting from AFP

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