IDF lookout Egypt border.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
A suicide attack that killed three people Sunday in an Eilat bakery was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the potential of the threat that Israel faced from Palestinian terror organizations that were trying to infiltrate into Israel over the fenceless border with Egypt.
"The threat has not fully materialized itself yet even with this suicide attack," a high-ranking IDF officer from the Southern Command told reporters. "I am concerned that this is just the beginning and the attacks will continue to happen."
According to the officer, in 2006, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) caught over 100 Palestinian terrorists who originated in the Gaza Strip and tried crossing into Israel from the Sinai Desert in Egypt. Among the terrorists were suicide bombers, weapons experts on their way to establish terror infrastructure in the West Bank and masterminds of soldier-kidnapping plots.
In addition to the terrorists, security forces also succeeded in dismantling 11 terror rings that had established infrastructure which was used for infiltrations along the border.
Division 80, headed by Brig.-Gen. Imad Faris, is in charge of patrolling the Israeli-Egyptian border which runs for 200 kilometers without a fence or as the officer said: "Any other mental or physical barrier." Three IDF infantry companies, commanded by a Lt.-Col., patrol the border area around Eilat.
Additional undercover units are also used for ambushes and patrols in the vicinity. Three weeks ago, Faris's division conducted a major exercise during which it drilled a terrorist attack along the lines of the suicide bombing in Eilat on Monday.
According to the officer, the Egyptians could also do more to assist in preventing the terror infiltrations from Gaza, through the Sinai and into Israel. "Egyptians can also do more just like we can," he said. "But before we look at what they can do, we need to look at what we can do."