High alert over planned infiltration plot in South

IDF beefs up forces along the border, closes roads 10 and 12.

August 30, 2011 00:57
3 minute read.
IDF chief of General Staff Benny Gantz [file]

Benny Gantz 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)


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The IDF went on high alert along Israel’s southern border with Egypt on Monday, and significantly bolstered its forces there, amid concrete intelligence that Islamic Jihad terrorists were planning to infiltrate Israel and carry out a similar attack to the one near Eilat 10 days ago.

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made the decision to beef up forces along the border late Sunday night and instructed OC Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel to update the Egyptian military on the decision.

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Analysis: IDF prepared for a different attack

IDF sources said that intelligence indicated that an Islamic Jihad cell had crossed into the Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip and was planning to carry out an attack along one of the roads that runs alongside the border in the coming days.

On August 18, a number of terrorists – some from Gaza and others from Egypt – crossed into Israel along the Egyptian border and killed eight Israelis in a series of attacks. Israel has placed the blame for the attack on the Popular Resistance Committees, whose leaders were killed in a retaliatory Israeli airstrike.

The decision to bolster the military presence along the border is in line with Gantz’s decision last week to institute new security changes along Israel’s southern border, which included a stronger emphasis on collection of intelligence by the IDF in Gaza, as well as in Sinai in an effort to locate and track terrorists that may be planning attacks against Israel.

In addition, the IDF has modified the operational doctrine of the Navy Command Center in Eilat which is responsible for protecting southern Israel from threats originating in the Red Sea. On Monday, two large Navy corvettes were seen docked in Eilat, likely for anti-terror and smuggling operations in the Red Sea.

Due to the high terror threat, the IDF has closed Roads 12 and 10, which run along the border out of fear that the terrorists will try and carry out an attack targeting civilian or military cars that travel on the roads.

Due to the fear that the cell is planning to kidnap Israelis, the Defense Ministry has banned its employees with high-level security clearance from driving on the roads to minimize the potential security risk to Israel.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that the terrorist cell which carried out the attacks earlier this month was not the only one looking to infiltrate Israel from Sinai.

“We are preparing with all of our available resources, to detect and thwart such attacks if they materialize,” Barak said. “I stress that those responsible in Gaza will not walk away without paying a price.”

Also on Monday, the Egyptian military launched an operation to restore order to Sinai, with the deployment of around 1,500 soldiers to the peninsula with Israel’s approval.

Egyptian media said that the soldiers were working together with tanks and armored personnel carriers and were focusing their operations in the towns of Rafah, el Arish and Sheikh Zuwayed.

On Monday night, a Kassam rocket exploded in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no injuries or damages, Israel Radio reported.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report

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