Defense minister seeks power to close Sinai border

Barak says he's looking into the possibility of closing the Taba border when terror, kidnapping warnings arise.

By
September 7, 2012 07:32
1 minute read.
Tourists cross the Egypt-Israel Taba border

Tourists cross the Egypt-Israel Taba border crossing 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Looking to head to Sinai over the High Holidays? If Defense Minister Ehud Barak had his way, Israeli law would allow security officials to close the Taba border crossing whenever there is a serious warning of a possible kidnapping or terror attack.

Barak said Thursday that "in light of the changing situation in Sinai and the rising danger for Israelis there, I will check the possibility of allowing the relevant authorities to close the Sinai border during times of need."

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The defense minister added, "unfortunately, even when there are very serious warnings of terror attacks or kidnappings, there are Israelis who ignore this and make their way to the peninsula. We need to work right away and not only after a kidnapping or terror attack."

Earlier Friday, Egypt's interior minister said Cairo has identified seven suspects, including one Egyptian, in the killing of 16 border guards last month that triggered the biggest security sweep along its frontier with Israel in decades.

The attack on Aug. 5, the worst since Egypt's 1973 war with its Jewish neighbor, underlined how lax policing in the region has emboldened Islamist militants to step up attacks on Egyptian security forces and the Israeli border.

Lawlessness in Sinai deepened after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak last year and his successor as president, Mohamed Morsy, has vowed to restore order.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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