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Observation point on Egyptian border Photo: Lior Yado
Observation point on Egyptian border Photo: Lior Yado
 
 

Electronic fence to be built on Egyptian border

Good years of drug and weapon smugglers to soon end; IDF preparing to build electronic protective fence on Israel-Egypt border replacing shorter, more simple fence that was on border until now

Meir Ohayon
Published: 09.07.06, 14:39 / Israel News

Is this what will prevent infiltration of terror cells into Negev? In recent days, the Israel Defense Forces has been working on creating plan that will prevent numerous smuggling operations on the Israel-Egypt border, first and foremost in the section of the border that is most often used by smugglers – 12 kilometers (7.44 miles) next to Eilat, from Netafim until Gesharon.

 

The border between Israel and Egypt stretches over 400 kilometers (248 miles), and the only thing that separates the two countries is a short fence with no electronic security devices. The fence cannot prevent the hundreds of illegal drug and weapon smugglings.

 

The IDF became increasingly concerned that a terror cell would be able to pass to and from the southern city just as effortlessly. It became increasingly concerned especially following the recent terror attacks in the Sinai, and due to the recent warnings by the organization for the war against terror.

 

Soon, the IDF will authorize the plan dubbed "Hourglass," according to which a protective electronic fence will be built, equipped with security cameras. This will create a physical obstacle to infiltrations, the IDF spokesperson's representative in the Negev told Ynet. The full report will be published on Friday in the Yedioth Eilat paper, owned by the local newspaper chain of Yedioth Ahronoth.

 

Such a protective electronic fence is on the Israel-Jordan border in the section that is close to Eilat. IDF units follow every suspicious move in the area, and forces show up with the slightest alert. With the construction of the fence on the border with Egypt, the IDF hopes to create in Eilat and the surrounding area "a sterile triangle" between Israel, Egypt and Jordan which will be sealed shut and will serve as an obstacle to anyone who tries to infiltrate it.

 

A part of the area where the IDF plans to build the fence passes through the nature reserve "Eilat Mountains," and the operations will be made with the cooperation of the authority personal of the reserve in order to minimize harm to the area.

 

Egyptians don't know yet

The project should cost up to NIS 1 million (USD 230,000). The IDF forces across Eilat are waiting for the chief of staff's final authorization, but they have already started allocating resources in favor of the project: and an operations room and regular divisions such as Golani and Givati are stationed to secure the border. Meanwhile, a budget for purchasing devices for collecting information (cameras, etc.) was approved, and in upcoming months, the construction should begin.

 

So far, the Egyptians have not yet been updated on all aspects of the project and it is not clear if they will be updated in the future, but the IDF estimates that the Israeli initiative will be well received by its neighbors across the border and will also give them some peace and quiet.

 

According to the IDF's statistics, since January, 2006 until today, 291 citizens of different nationalities were caught trying to infiltrate Israel through the Egyptian border.

 

Furthermore, 24.2 kilograms (53.24 pounds) of heroin were found, 2.3 tons of marijuana, 180 kilograms (396 pounds) of hashish and seven tons of cigarettes and tobacco. Additionally, there were also a few operations during which dozens of shotguns, handguns, grenades, night vision equipment and even explosive belts were uncovered. Along with the infiltrators the IDF also caught 52 camels.

 

Lior Yado contributed to the report

 

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