Israel, Egypt working to stop Hamas attacks from Sinai (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 02/23/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
Israel and Egypt are working together to stop Hamas terrorists
from "cynically using" the Sinai Peninsula to perpetrate terror
attacks against Israel, a top IDF officer said on Thursday.
"We regularly coordinate with the Egyptians and synchronize our
efforts to coordinate joint action against Hamas," Brig.-Gen Nadav
Padan, commander of the IDF´s 80th Division said during a tour of the
southern border on Thursday.
Padan´s briefing came ahead of the planned opening next week of Road
12, which has been closed since August when eight Israelis were
killed in a coordinated terrorist assault along the border.
One of the noticeable changes since the attack is the rapid pace of
construction along the 240-kilometer border, 100 kilometers of which
are now closed by a newly built barrier.
In August, for example, there was barely any barbed wire along the
section of the border used by the terrorists to cross into Israel.
In addition, the IDF plans to erect new fortified positions along the
border to protect key strategic locations, such as the Netafim
crossing, 12 km. north of Eilat. It is also investing large resources
in intelligence gathering, to create a clearer understanding of
terrorist groups that operate in Sinai.
The Egyptian military currently operates four battalions within the
Sinai, which are mostly used to protect tourist sites as well as the
gas line that runs through the peninsula. Defense Minister Ehud Barak
has approved the insertion of two more battalions but the Egyptians
have yet to act on the approval they received from Israel, which is
required due to the peace treaty between the countries.
A senior IDF officer said that terrorist elements were moving freely
throughout the Sinai and sometimes right under the nose of the
Egyptian security forces. There is concern that additional attacks
are currently in the works. The IDF does, however, have a weak
intelligence grasp over the Sinai, which makes it difficult to learn
of and prevent future attacks.
In 2011, over 16,000 African migrant workers illegally crossed into
Israel via the border, the highest number since the mass immigration
began about seven years ago. According to the IDF, the number has
slightly dropped since the beginning of the year, leading the IDF to
believe that the construction of the fence is effective in areas
where construction has been completed. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY