Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile (1,000-km) wall along its border with Iraq amid growing fears of attacks by ISIS militants.
Over the past three years, the ISIS has seized territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border and has proclaimed a global caliphate with the ultimate goal of capturing Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.
On January 5 ISIS militants attacked a Saudi border post near Judayyidat Ararm and killed two Saudi guards and an army commander, an incident that highlighted the instability across Saudi Arabia’s border with Iraq.
The first phase of the 1,000-km border project started in September. The wall will ultimately stretch from the northwestern town of Turaif near the Saudi-Jordanian border to the northeastern town of Hafar al-Batin near Kuwait.
The wall itself will include a steep sand bank that prevents vehicles from driving too close to the fence, several layers of razor-wire fences, day and night security cameras, thermal imaging systems, underground movement sensors and 40 watchtowers fitted with long-range radars.
Saudi Arabia has also deployed 30,000 more troops to the border, along with more than 240 rapid response vehicles and surveillance reconnaissance vehicles.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq remain strained after Saudi Arabia blamed Iraq’s previous prime minister Nuri al-Maliki for marginalizing Iraq’s Sunni minority and creating the conditions that allowed for ISIS to gain traction in Iraq.
Saudi Arabia is also building a 1,100-mile (1,800 km) fence along its porous border with Yemen, which is fighting its own insurgency against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
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