The IDF is planting trees near Gaza to block the line of vision of terrorists firing advanced anti-tank missiles, but it will take several years before the trees years grow high enough to help defend Israelis.
“Project Forest Security” began earlier this year after the IDF learned that terrorists in the de facto Hamas government have obtained Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles. One of them hit a school bus two weeks ago and killed 16-yerar-old Daniel Viflic.
“The recent use of anti-tank fire was unusual,” according to Commander of Territorial Defense in the Gaza Division, Lt. Col. Ilan Dayan. It’s something we considered a threat; however, the attack on the school bus crossed every line.”
The purpose of "Forest Security," costing seven million shekels ($1.6 million) began, is to create an obstacle to the aiming of missiles and mortars at civilian targets.
"We are planting trees that will grow and provide cover," said Lt. Col. Dayan. "A person firing an anti-tank missile needs a line of sight to the target. If he doesn’t have one, he has a serious problem."
It will take years for the trees grow tall enough to obscure the line of sight from Gaza into nearby Israeli communities. In the meantime, the IDF has installed a radar system that warns residents of incoming mortar shells, similar to the 15-second early warning system for Kassam rockets. .
"The level of protection has slowly increased, and the whole area is built well for emergency situations," said the territorial defense officer. "The day when 51 mortar shells were launched (less than a month ago), the system was used, with high quality," explained Lt. Col. Dayan.
The IDF added that the mortar shell and rocket attacks have not altered day-to-day life in southern communities, but agriculture and tourism have been adversely affected.