A new brigade in the southern front has been established to guard the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the IDF Spokesperson announced on Wednesday.
The Faran Brigade will incorporate the IDF’s co-ed Caracal and Bardalas battalions and will be commanded by Col.Eli Yitzhak Ben Bashat. The soldiers in the brigade will have the speckled, yellow, green and brown berets of the Border Defense Force and wear red boots and a newly designed tag on their shoulder.
“Its establishment is part of the process of integrating the border defense battalions into routine security missions, in a way that provides a qualitative sponse to missions,” the IDF said in a statement.
“The goal is to continue to protect the border while building the force of the border defense battalions that until now were split,” the IDF said, adding that the new brigade was established following the organizational changes in the IDF’s 80th “Edom” Division to streamlines its troops.
With the forming of the new brigade, the Sagi Regional brigade will be dissolved and the Faran brigade deployed to protect territory extending from the community of Nitzana in the west to Eilat in the south.
According to the IDF, the process of establishing the battalion was completed this past week, with the battalions and the brigade trained to face the various threats in the sector. A ceremony marking the brigade’s establishment was held in the presence of the head of the Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi on Wednesday.
“This unites the entire force structure under one brigade commander. Caracal and Bardelas,” a senior officer in the Southern Command told reporters, adding “It is intended to strengthen the capabilities and pride of the unit.”
“As a regional and regular division, we will advance processes that will strengthen the operational capabilities of the battalions and will nurture the best resource the brigade has to offer – the people,” Col. Ben Bashat said. “I am confident that with the human strength, experience and motivation at our disposal, we will continue to defend the borders of the State of Israel to the best possible.”
Israel has a 240-kilometer border with the Sinai and Cairo and Jerusalem have been reported to have been closely cooperating in the Sinai peninsula in the fight against ISIS militants
since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi rose to power.
Sisi has waged extensive military operations against ISIS in the Sinai, and while the terrorist group has lost much of its strength, it remains active and despite its small size continues to carry out deadly attacks on Egyptian security forces.
Drug smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel is also a concern for IDF troops stationed along the border.
On Saturday, a Egyptian policeman accidentally fired towards a military vehicle patrolling along the border, the senior officer in the southern command said, explaining that it is believed the officer shot towards the vehicle because of “heightened operational tension” that Egyptian police are facing in their fight against drug smugglers and terrorists in the restive peninsula.
“We are two armies and our countries have a peace agreement with a security attaché, and both armies are obligated to maintain it,” the senior officer said, explaining that the Egyptian army is investigating the incident.
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