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SOLDIERS SURVEY the scene near Kadesh Barnea 370.(Photo by: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
IDF beefs up commando unit protecting Sinai border
Sayeret Rimon to be expanded to size of battalion to enable it to cover more territory, carry out number of simultaneous operations.
The army has decided to expand an elite reconnaissance unit set up last year to prevent infiltrations from across the Sinai border.

Called Sayeret Rimon, the unit operates under the Givati Brigade and carries the name of a special operations unit established by then-OC Southern Command Ariel Sharon in the early 1970s.

Until now, the unit has consisted of an enlarged company, but it will soon be expanded to the size of a battalion to enable it to cover more territory and carry out a number of simultaneous operations.

On Tuesday, OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the IDF has thwarted 10 plots recently to attack Israel from Sinai.

A senior IDF officer said on Tuesday that the unit has carried out a number of successful operations since its inception in 2011 and had prevented around a dozen border infiltrations, some of them of criminal nature and other terror related.

“The soldiers are experts in camouflage and adapting to the desert surroundings as well as sniper fire and counter- terror operations,” the officer said.

For Givati, the model that will be applied to the expanded unit will be similar to the situation in the Golani Brigade, which in addition to its regular infantry battalions, also is in command of Egoz, an elite battalion-size unit that specializes in reconnaissance operations in Lebanon.

“Another important element for the unit is the ability to move fast in the field,” the officer said, noting that the soldiers would soon receive the new Sufa (Storm) 3 all-terrain rugged command vehicle that has an upgraded and improved suspension system, allowing for increased survivability in extreme conditions.

The decision to expand the unit is part of a series of changes the IDF has made along the border with Egypt over the past year, including the establishment of a new brigade based in Eilat, the construction of a barrier and the installation of radars and electro-optical sensors to detect potential intruders.
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