The Israel Defense Forces plans to install a new underground system along the Gaza border to detect tunneling activity in its early stages, Army Radio reported Monday. According to the report, over the past several months the army has carried out a series of tests near the Kerem Shalom border crossing and declared the new technology, called "Strong Number," a success. The system will eventually be deployed along the entire border aiming to avert all cross-border raids and to detect arm smuggling.
An IDF spokesperson told Army Radio on Monday that the system is considered reliable. It is not prone to false positive detections, and may even prove to be the ultimate weapon in combating tunnel-related terror activity.
Palestinians terrorists used a tunnel in the 2006 cross-border raid near the Kerem Shalom border crossing in which Gilad Schalit was captured. Schalit was returned in 2011 as part of the prisoner swap with Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip. In 2007, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss faulted the Israeli authorities not properly addressing the threat tunnels pose on Israel.
According to the report, Deputy IDF Chief of General Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh gave the green light on the project, which has been run by the IDF Ground Forces Technology Division. A private company will be in charge of installing the technology along the border after the state issues the relevant tender, Army Radio reported.
A senior officer in the Technology Division command told Army Radio that the system will likely be in place along 10 km (6.2 miles) by the end of 2012, which will allow the army to gauge its operational success before expanding its usage.
"The IDF believes that a solution has been found to the tunneling problem; we will soon be able to overcome this complex challenge, " the officer said. "What we have is a reliable system that seldom fails."
Army Radio said the estimated cost of the project is 200 million shekels ($51 million). All three of the systems' developers hail from the IDF's prestigious technology training program, Talpiot. The Israeli online news source, NRG, reported Monday that the developers used existing technologies, such as sensors used by the Israeli Navy and geophones used for oil exploration, to develop the new system.
Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force attacked a terrorist squad in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday as it was preparing to launch rockets on Israel. A statement released by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said the precise hit successfully averted rocket fire. "The IDF will continue to operate with strength and determination against anyone who uses terror against the residents of the State of Israel," read a statement on the IDF website Monday.