Israel-Egypt border
Photo: Yoav Zitun

Security along Eilat highway beefed up

23-foot high fence, ditches and dozens of observation posts aimed at preventing infiltration of terrorists from Sinai. 'Too bad fence wasn't up during Augusts' terror attack,' IDF officer says

On Sunday the IDF is expected to open the southwest segment of a highway that leads to Eilat for the first time since a terror attack near the border with Egypt left eight Israelis dead.


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As part of the efforts to beef up security along Route 12, the site of last August's terror attack, the army erected a massive 23-foot high fence and dug ditches that run alongside it to prevent the passage of vehicles. In addition, dozens of new observation posts, equipped with security cameras, antennas and radar systems, were positioned along the road. The observation posts can monitor activity deep within the Sinai Peninsula - in Egyptian territory.


מכשולים בכניסה לישראל (צילום: הרצל יוסף)

New border fence (Photo: Herzl Yosef)


The army has also taken measures aimed at preventing terrorists from digging their way underneath the fence to the Israeli side of the border.


"The security situation in the area has changed drastically – at the site of the terror attack itself and the surrounding area," Edom Division Commander Brigadier General Nadav Padan said. "Our new intelligence gathering system will warn of suspicious activity, thus helping us prevent infiltrations. We took an old fence and turned it into a massive obstacle."


Despite the security measures, the threat of terror attacks carried out by Palestinians from Gaza via the Egyptian border has only intensified. Just last Tuesday an IDF force uncovered a powerful explosive device along the Egyptian border, not far from Gaza. In a separate incident that took place a short while later, smugglers fired an RPG at Egyptian officers.


"Hamas is taking advantage of the situation in Sinai to send terror cells to the region," said Padan.


Brigadier General Eran Ofir, whose unit is heading the project, said that by next week the new fence will cover 100 (62 miles) of the 240-kilometer (150 miles) border with Egypt. "This will help us stop the flow of infiltrators and prevent terror attacks. I suppose things would have been different had this fence been erected prior to the August attack," he said.


Israel is investing NIS 1.3 billion ($350 million) in the defense project.


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פרסום ראשון: 02.23.12, 18:13
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