Infiltrations rising despite building of Egypt fence (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 04/25/12)
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African migrant workers are continuing to infiltrate Israel despite
the ongoing construction of a hi-tech barrier along the border with
Egypt, government officials said this week.
Since the beginning of the year, nearly 5,000 African migrant workers
have crossed into the country illegally. In January, 2,171 workers
crossed into Israel, followed by 1,303 in February – similar numbers
to the last quarter of 2011. In total, 16,851 workers infiltrated the
country last year.
The Defense Ministry and IDF have so far completed the construction
of about 120 km. of the fence, and plan to complete an additional 100
km. by the end of the year. The fence, 5 meters high and layered with
barbed wire, is supported by dozens of radars, which are deployed
along the border to alert the army to potential infiltrations from
While Israel is trying to stem the flow of migrant workers into the
country, it is primarily concerned with the possibility that
terrorists will launch another attack along the border similar to the
one in August that killed eight Israelis.
Last week, the Counterterrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office
issued an urgent travel advisory warning Israelis to leave the Sinai
Peninsula immediately. In addition, the IDF is constantly beefing up
its forces along the border and recently transferred armored jeeps
from the West Bank and the Northern Command to the border to be used
by forces located there.
While Israel suspects that Palestinian terrorist groups are setting
up operations in the Sinai, the local Beduin population, which is
believed to be turning more radical, is doing a lot of the work. It
was Beduin who carried out the attacks in August, for example, not
Palestinians – who are, however, believed to have directed the effort
This situation has posed a major challenge to Israeli intelligence
agencies, which are encountering difficulty obtaining information on
the Beduin clans that control the Sinai Peninsula.
As the IDF continues to close the border, though, predictions are
that the number of illegal migrant workers coming in will drop and
that terrorist infiltrations will become more difficult. The IDF
fears that terrorists will then try to replicate the terrorist
methods of organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and
begin planting bombs along the border and firing rockets into Eilat.
(© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/25/12)
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