Press TV – December 26, 2010
Egypt is building surveillance towers along the border with the Gaza Strip as part of its measures to step up restrictions on the besieged coastal enclave.
Egyptian security officials said on Saturday that the first of the steel and concrete towers, measuring almost 100 feet (30.5 meters) in height, near the Rafah Crossing, is almost completed, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the structures were being built to improve the monitoring of movements along the border.
Cairo is also constructing an underground steel wall to disrupt a network of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, which the Palestinians use to import basic food items and other supplies into the blockaded territory.
Egyptian authorities regularly fill the tunnels with gas or flood them with water and the underground lifelines are frequently bombed by Israeli fighter jets.
The construction of the steel wall and observation towers has caused tension between Egypt and other countries in the region.
In 2009, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah criticized Egypt over the construction of the underground steel wall, saying it would “terminate the thin veins, which are giving some life and some hope to Gaza.”
Israel has imposed a crippling land and sea siege on the Gaza Strip for over three years, pushing the densely-populated coastal sliver, which is home to 1.5 million Palestinians, to the verge of starvation.