The IDF has issued call up orders for six battalions to guard the Egyptian and Syrian borders, with authorization for more if needed. The orders were approved by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as part of a request to call up as many as 22 battalions.
The call up came following intelligent assessments calling for increased deployment of more troops, an IDF spokesperson said.
Former deputy IDF chief of staff Dan Harel said Wednesday night the call-up meant the IDF views the Egyptian and Syrian borders as a “potential source of greater threat than in the past.” He cited Egypt's reduced control over the Sinai Peninsula, and the upswing in smuggling of weapons and other items by Bedouin tribes in the area.
Harel also pointed to the growing threat of terrorism emanating from the Sinai – an issue that has been constantly underscored by Israel's Center for Counter-terrorism in every alert issued prior to each holiday in a vain attempt to prevent Israelis from traveling to the region.
In addition, the former deputy chief of staff warned the situation in Syria “could explode at any moment...and pose a direct challenge to us.”
Although the current term of service for non-combat recruits may soon be reduced due to planned cuts by the IDF, the plan to cut service for combat soldiers has been put on hold due to the enemy threats, Israel Defense has reported.
The need for budget cuts and the aim to increase efficiency in the military structure were two factors cited for the decision to shorten army service for non-combat personnel.
IDF troops deployed along the so-called international “Blue Line” on Tuesday to prepare for a possible attack while preparing to build a six meter high separation wall on the de facto border between Israel and Lebanon.
The construction, which had begun Monday, will result in a wall that will stretch from the former Jidar al-Tayyib Gate to the Fatima Gate crossing. It is intended to protect residents of the border town of Metula, which faces Kfar Kila. Members of the Hizbullah terrorist organization have posted pictures of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along the road connecting the Fatima Gate to Adaysseh.