Israel’s latest bid to defend itself against tunnels from Gaza will involve sensors, transmitters and even robots in a scheme nicknamed ‘Iron Spade.’

A Sunday Times report shed light on the £430 million project, which is being developed by defence manufacturer Elbit Systems and Rafael, the firm behind the ‘Iron Dome,’ Israel’s successful rocket interception system.

An IDF soldier in a Hammas tunnel in Rafah

An IDF soldier in a Hammas tunnel in Rafah

Sensors positioned in key areas will detect new excavations along the 43-mile Israel-Gaza border while robots will be deployed to destroy any such efforts. There are also plans for a physical barrier sunk to a depth of 100ft.

While the idea of a “moat” is not new, these revelations follow comments last week from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who said creative ideas being considered to defend Israel against cross-border attacks.

Speaking to Army Radio about separating Gaza from Israel, she said: “There are ways of doing it. The [barrier] may not need to be visible from above ground. There are also technological means that are being checked.”

She said Israel should be prepared to invest in order to protect them, adding: “There might be a large expense involved in it, but it will be worth it.”

Tunnels built by Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip were used to kill IDF soldiers during the latest round of fighting, and Israeli forces had destroyed a dozen such underground passages into Israel by the time they withdrew.