Israel to Raise Height of Egypt Border Fence to Block Migrants

Israeli workers erect a new fence along Israel's border with Jordan in the Arabah valley, some 30 Kilometres north to the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat, on February 1, 2016.

TEL AVIV – Israel is set to raise the height of its fence along the Egyptian border in an effort to keep out migrants, defense officials said Tuesday.

The fence will be raised an additional meter, making it six meters (19.7 feet) high. This follows an increase in African migrants entering the country over the past year.

The army said that a series of additional prevention methods will be put in place to reduce the number of illegal border crossings.

The current fence, which was built between 2010-2014, has been largely successful in preventing migrant incursions, the IDF said. In 2014, only 14 people made it across the border, compared with 12,000 in 2010. However, in 2015, some 200 migrants made it over the fence, often with the use of ladders.

In one case, Israeli soldiers wounded three Africans after opening fire on them at the border. The Military Police opened an investigation and ruled that the shooting was unwarranted.

The Defense Ministry is seeking contractors to raise the fence. Some of the previous construction was actually carried out by Africans who had themselves made it across the border.