IDF lookout Egypt border.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
In an attempt to prevent criminal and terror infiltrations into southern Israel, the IDF opened two new bases along the border with Egypt this week.
The Karmit and Hivai bases - which can accommodate battalion-level forces - are located along the northern section of Israel's 230-kilometer border with Egypt and fall under the command of Division 80, led by Brig.-Gen. Imad Fares. The division spends most of its time patrolling the border to prevent the smuggling of drugs, weapons and prostitutes from Sinai.
Following 2005's disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the IDF Southern Command decided to beef up the fenceless border with Egypt out of concern that terrorists in the Gaza Strip would try to enter Israel via Sinai.
Military Intelligence recently passed on information to the Southern Command indicating that Palestinian terror groups were planning to infiltrate from Egypt or even to kidnap soldiers near the border.
Since the beginning of 2006, the IDF has caught more than 300 foreign nationals trying to enter Israel from Egypt.
Officers in Division 80 said the new bases were part of an interim solution, pending a cabinet decision to fund an electronic fence along the border. According to the officers, the deployment of battalion-size forces in bases on the border will improve response time to infiltration attempts and enhance overall border security.
"We are trying to prevent infiltrations and smuggling," one officer said. "We would prefer a fence but the government needs to decide to build one and until then we will do what we can to improve our operational capabilities."