Israel, Egypt to work together against terror

Top IDF officer: Israel regularly coordinates with Egyptians in action against Hamas; IDF decides to reopens Route 12.

February 23, 2012 17:00
2 minute read.
Soldiers patrolling the Egyptian border [file]

Egypt border 311. (photo credit: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)


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Israel and Egypt are working together to stop Hamas from “cynically using” Sinai to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel, a top IDF officer said on Thursday.

“We regularly coordinate with the Egyptians and synchronize our efforts to coordinate joint action against Hamas,” Brig.-Gen Nadav Padan, commander of the IDF’s 80th Division, said during a tour of the border on Thursday.

Padan’s briefing came ahead of the planned opening next week of Road 12, which has been closed since August when eight Israelis were killed in a coordinated terrorist assault along the border.

One of the noticeable changes since the attack is the rapid pace of construction along the 240-kilometer border, 100 kilometers of which are now closed by a new barrier.

In August, for example, there was barely any barbed wire along the section of the border used by the terrorists to cross into Israel.

In addition, the IDF plans to erect new fortified positions along the frontier to protect key locations, such as the Netafim crossing, 12 km.

north of Eilat. It is also investing large resources in intelligence gathering, to create a clearer understanding of terrorist groups that operate in Sinai.

The Egyptian military operates four battalions in Sinai, which are mostly used to protect tourist sites as well as the natural gas line that runs through the peninsula.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the insertion of two more battalions but the Egyptians have yet to act on the approval they received from Israel, which is required due to the peace treaty between the countries.

A senior IDF officer said that terrorist elements were moving freely throughout Sinai and sometimes right under the nose of the Egyptian security forces. There is concern that additional attacks are in the works. The IDF does, however, have a weak intelligence grasp over Sinai, which makes it difficult to learn of and prevent attacks.

In 2011, more than 16,000 African illegally crossed into Israel via the border, the most since the mass migration began seven years ago. According to the IDF, the numbers have slightly dropped since the beginning of the year, leading the army to believe that the fence is effective in areas where construction has been completed.

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