Almost a year after a deadly terror attack, Road 12 along Israel’s border with Egypt was opened on Sunday to civilian traffic. The IDF decided to completely open the road, parts of which run directly alongside the border, after completing construction of the majority of a border fence there.
The attack took place on August 18, 2011, when a number of terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Sinai Peninsula and opened fire at Israeli cars traveling on Road 12, just west of the Netafim crossing. Eight Israelis were killed in the attack, which prompted the IDF to close the road.
Military sources said that the decision to reopen the road was initially made in February albeit with restrictions that banned the use of the highway at night and limited its use to certain sections.
The sources said that OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo’s decision would be reviewed regularly based on intelligence and that the road would be closed if a terror alert is received.
The Defense Ministry has so far completed the construction of a fence along 170 km. of the border and plans to complete the project in the first quarter of 2013.
The fence is 5 meters high and is covered in two layers of barbed wire. In addition, the border is lined with dozens of towers with radar systems which provide persistent ground surveillance of the border to warn of infiltrations.
The different radars – developed by Israel Aerospace Industries – have ranges from 300m. up to 20 km. for people or 40 km. for vehicles. In addition to the fence and radars, the IDF has also bolstered its deployment along the border with the establishment of a new regional brigade and an additional Combat Intelligence Battalion, responsible for surveillance along the border.