Aiming to halt the smuggling of weapons and terrorists from the Sinai, the IDF on Monday redeployed crack combat troops along the northern Egyptian border.
The Gaza Division was chosen to patrol some 60 kilometers of the porous border from Kerem Shalom southward. It has allocated its southern brigade, commanded by Col.Avi Peled, reinforced with Givati troops for the task.
The border until now had been the responsibility of the territorial division supplemented by Border Police units. The entire border runs for some 230 kilometers from Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba to Kerem Shalom on the border of the Gaza Strip.
Where nature has not been cruel, there exists a short barbed wire fence along most of its length. The defense establishment wants to erect a formidable security fence that is expected to cost some NIS 1.5 billion.
The major threat coming from Egypt, which is at peace with Israel, is from smugglers. Traditionally, Bedouin smugglers, who have criss-crossed the frontier for millennia, sneaked in drugs, tobacco and prostitutes. But with Gaza shut, Palestinian terrorist groups are contracting with the Bedouin to smuggle in both arms and terrorists.
These are then smuggled through the Negev into the West Bank.