Southern Command on Wednesday welcomed a new territorial brigade tasked with protecting the city of Eilat
and the nearby communities.
The brigade is part of the Edom formation which defends 30% of Israel's
territory. It was created to address the growing terrorist threat emanating from the Sinai
region in the backdrop of Egyptian instability.
Col. Roi Be'eri will lead the new brigade. The first order of business will be to secure the construction of the fence in the 15 kilometer stretch of the Eilat mountains.
Fence in Eilat mountains (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)
It is estimated that construction will not be completed before mid 2013 due to engineering challenges.
Defense establishment workers are working around the clock to complete the fence as the threat of infiltration attacks looms over the region. The IDF has therefore decided to deploy large forces in the area for field security purposes.
A senior military official did not comment on the possible installation of alert and detection systems. "I don't know who has the authority to decide whether to activate the systems that previously operated here," he said.
Construction work (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)
He stressed that the army continues to coordinate with Egyptian forces who he said are also interested in keeping the Sinai borer quiet. The military official described the border area as "a playground for near and distant terrorist organizations."
Meanwhile, the IDF is also considering building a fence on the Jordanian border to prevent terrorist infiltrations and weapons smuggling into Gaza via Sinai.
A fence has already been erected in the segment between Eilat and Kibbutz Yotvata but the rest of the Arava region is still exposed.