By Lea Speyer
Israel will lend its counter-terrorism expertise to Kenya by helping the African country build a security wall along its border with Somalia, the UK’s The Times reported on Thursday.
Nairobi is seeking assistance from the Jewish state to construct a 440-mile barricade to prevent Somali terrorists from infiltrating the country. Israel itself is in the process of building a security fence along its southern border with Jordan — expanding the fence located alongside the Sinai peninsula — and has plans to build a massive concrete wall that extends underground, to prevent terrorists from the Gaza Strip from infiltrating the country through tunnels.
The news comes amid Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic flurry in Africa this week, which included a stop in Kenya on Tuesday.
Following a meeting with Netanyahu, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stated, “Kenya and Israel, just like other nations in the world, are facing the challenges of terrorism and today was a great opportunity to discuss ways of dealing with the issues.”
Both leaders agreed to strengthen their intelligence cooperation, with Israel offering to share tactics it has developed to detect terror attacks in the early stages of their planning.
“If you know in advance that an attack is going to happen and can preempt it, it saves lives,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is doing this and we will share intelligence with Kenya and Africa.”
The Israeli prime minister warned that terror groups across Africa — such as ISIS and its Nigerian affiliate, Boko Haram — are gaining strength and pose a major threat not only to Africa, but to the entire world. “There is a raging crisis of terrorism,” he said. “Where Israel can help, we will.”
Over the past several years, Kenya has been victim to a spate of attacks by Somali terrorists, particularly jihadists from the Islamist Al-Shabaab group.
In 2013, Al-Shabaab killed sixty-seven people at a Westgate shopping center in Nairobi. In 2015, the jihadist group carried out another grisly attack in northeast Kenya, targeting Christians at Garissa University. Seven hundred students were taken hostage, with 148 killed and some 79 injured. The attack was the deadliest terror incident in Kenya since the 1998 US Embassy bombing.
Kenyan officials are not the only world leaders looking to the Jewish state as an example. In February, when presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declared that he would build a wall along the US-Mexico border, he told reporters, “You could ask Israel about walls that work.”
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal