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
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
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