TEL AVIV (May. 6)
The Israel Defense Force engineering corps is rushing through construction of a new security fence along the northern border, in preparation for the final pullback within a month of all IDF personnel from the security zone to behind the old international border.
The security zone, which roughly parallels the international border, is between 8-15 kilometers deep and extends about 12 kilometers along the coastline. Its population is about 110,000, approximately half of whom are Shiites.
The new defense line consists of barbed wire, electrified fences, watchtowers with powerful lights and a deep and wide ditch on the Lebanon side of the border, to prevent the entry of suicide bombers driving explosive-laden vehicles.
Three Lebanese ships called at Haifa port last Friday to ferry some 700 Christian refugees who had fled into Israel and the security belt from attacking Shiites, Druze and Palestinian militias, to Beirut. Ferrying the refugees avoided the dangerous roads inside Lebanon along which various militia groups have established roadblocks.