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Israeli Leaders Approve Reinforcing Barrier on Israel-Egypt Border


Israeli officials say the country's top leaders have approved construction of a reinforced barrier on the border with Egypt, to prevent infiltration by Palestinian militants.

Officials say Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign and defense ministers agreed on the barrier plan during a meeting Wednesday. Israel's full Cabinet will have to authorize the project before construction can begin.

The plan calls for building a new fence along parts of the 230-kilometer Israel-Egypt border.

Israeli authorities fear that Gaza-based Palestinian militants who entered Egypt during a recent border breach will try to enter Israel through its relatively open boundary with Egypt.

In violence today, a Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza struck a home in southern Israel, wounding two young children. An Israeli air strike in Gaza wounded at least three Palestinians.

The Israeli military also says it carried out air raids against what it described as an arms depot and a weapons manufacturing facility in Gaza.

Palestinian militants blew open the Gaza-Egypt border on January 23, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to cross before Egypt sealed the boundary last Sunday.

Israeli leaders originally proposed reinforcing Israel's barrier with Egypt several years ago, but the plan was dropped because of the high cost, estimated then at more than $270 million.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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