IDF soldiers north of Eilat, Sinai_311.
(photo credit: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)
Due to the growing terror threat in Sinai, the Egyptian military recently reinforced protective measures at the hundreds of positions it maintains along the border with Israel.
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According to IDF sources, the Egyptian positions – mostly watchtowers – used to have concrete blocks facing Israel to protect from potential Israeli attacks.
In recent weeks though, the Egyptian military has moved the blocks to the opposite side of the towers to defend against potential attacks from either terrorists or criminal elements.
The IDF has been on high alert along the border since August when terrorists infiltrated into Israel and killed eight Israelis. So far, 80 kilometers of fence have been completed and construction along the border is carried out on a daily basis, most weeks 24-hours a day.
The government had initially planned to complete the project by the end of 2013, but the Defense Ministry decided several months ago to hire a number of contractors to work simultaneously in a bid to speed up the project.
Predictions now are that construction of the 230 km. barrier will be completed by the end of 2012.
The threat to Israel is not only from Palestinian and Egyptian
terrorists seeking to enter the country to carry out attacks but also
from criminal elements – mostly Beduin from Sinai – who are involved in
smuggling drugs and African migrant workers into Israel.
On Monday night, for example, shots were fired by smugglers at Egyptian
troops along the border. IDF troops, who heard the shots, immediately
suspected a terrorist attack but later concluded that the shots were
fired by Beduin smugglers.
Ties between the IDF’s Southern Command and the Egyptian military have
seen an improvement in recent months due to the mutual interest in
trying to prevent terrorist attacks along the border.
In the attack in August, a number of Egyptian policemen were killed in the crossfire.