Israeli bulldozers have begun clearing the way for the construction of a barrier to seal off the Jewish state’s border with Egypt.
The wall will stretch 250 kilometres, backed up by an electric fence and surveillance technology.
The project is expected to take a year to complete.
The Israel-Egypt border runs from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in the north to the city of Eilat on the Red Sea in the south.
A barrier to secure the whole border still requires government approval.
Israel believes it is a necessary move to protect its citizens from illegal immigrants crossing the Sinai desert in search of work.
Mark Regev, a spokesperson for the Israeli government, said:
“ The barrier in the south is designed to protect the Israeli public by preventing the illicit import of drugs and to prevent people smuggling.”
Israeli immigration figures suggest that hundreds of migrants enter the country via Egypt every week.
Egyptian border guards have shot dead at least 28 migrants this year alone.