KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Saudi Arabia will press ahead with plans to build a massive security fence along its borders with Iraq to prevent infiltration of “terrorists,” the interior minister has said.
Construction of the double-track barbed fence, which will be fitted with remote sensors and thermal cameras, will begin next year, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz told Al-Anbaa Kuwaiti newspaper during an interview.
“Authorities in Saudi Arabia have begun the executive measures to build the largest security fence that extends along the 900-km (562-miles) border with Iraq,” he said.
The fence is a part of a comprehensive security plan to fortify the borders with Iraq that also involves setting up military bases and other hi-tech devices.
“The plan will cost 12 billion dollars, including 500 million dollars to build the fence which will be completed after five to six years,” Prince Nayef said.
The minister declined to reveal the name or nationality of the company involved in erecting the fence.
The fence will have 135 gates, all monitored with ultraviolet technology to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists … and also to halt smuggling of arms, drugs and persons into the kingdom,” Prince Nayef said.
Saudi Arabia, which already has tight measures in place to prevent cross-border infiltration by Islamist extremists, has often cited threats to its security posed by militants leaving the country to fight in Iraq.
A number of Saudi fighters have been involved in bloody attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the violence-plagued country.
According to the US army, Saudis comprise nearly 12 percent of the estimated 3,000 foreign combatants fighting on the side of the insurgency in Iraq.