Amid fears of a growing terrorist presence in Sinai Peninsula, the IDF has decided to permanently establish a new regional brigade and a Combat Collection battalion along the southern border with Egypt.

The new brigade will operate under Division 80 and will be responsible for securing Eilat and surrounding areas.

Following the cross-border attack in August that left eight Israelis dead, the IDF established a temporary special brigade command, but has now decided to make it permanent.

The brigade, under the command of Nahal Brigade commander Col. Amir Abulafia, will continue to be run by an active brigade commander until it receives all of the necessary manpower and units, expected by early 2012.

The establishment of a new Combat Collection battalion will enable the IDF to increase its coverage on the border with specialized surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Until now, the Combat Collection Corps, formerly known as Field Intelligence, consisted of three battalions – divided among the IDF’s Central, Southern and Northern Commands – and a number of surveillance teams equipped with high-quality camouflage capabilities, intelligence-gathering systems, advanced radar systems and remote-controlled weapons.

The IDF fears that with the Egyptian government preoccupied with demonstrations and instability in Cairo it will ease up its operations in the Sinai, which have anyhow been ineffective in preventing terrorists from moving freely throughout the peninsula.

The IDF has also nixed a proposal to turn the fence currently under construction along the border into a smart fence with sensors that set off alarms after the fence is touched. Instead, the military plans to deploy sophisticated radar systems along the border that will alert IDF troops of potential infiltrations before an infiltrator reaches the fence.

The Defense Ministry has so far completed the construction of around 65 km. of fence along Israel’s border with Egypt in face of a significant increase in the number of infiltrations by African migrants.

An additional 40 km. of fence will be erected by the end of 2011 and the section of 230 km. slated for closure will be completed by September 2012.

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