Israelis will soon be banned from approaching too close to the Sinai border.
A report on Army Radio Thursday morning said that the IDF was set to issue orders that would convert an area of 300 meters within the Sinai border into a closed military zone, which only soldiers and security personnel would be able to enter.
The order would apply even to areas where the Sinai border fence is in place. The fence, much of which contains electronic sensors to detect intruders, is about three quarters complete. In a recent terror attack, terrorists from Sinai attempted to enter Israel near Nitzana, where portions of the fence were being built.
IDF officials have apparently decided that even with the fence in place, there is a danger that terrorists could infiltrate Israel, the report said. In addition, security officials are concerned over the large numbers of Egyptian forces in Sinai, and want to ensure that any unncessary confrontations with Egyptian soldiers are avoided.
Parts of Road 10, the major artery connecting the Gaza border area and Eilat, will be affected by the closure. It is not clear if the road will be rerouted, or if IDF vehicles will patrol those portions of the road affected by the order, enabling civilian traffic to pass. Because the area affected by the closure is under civilian jurisdiction, the order requires the approval of the Attorney General, who, the report said, has already signed off on the order. The order will go into effect once the IDF Chief of Staff signs it.
Meanwhile, a report in Arab media Thursday said that Egypt was beginning to withdraw troops and equipment from Sinai. The forces were sent in last week, Egypt claimed, to root out terror cells holed up in Sinai, but the presence of heavy forces – including soldiers, tanks, and armored vehicles – violates the Camp David treaty.
According to the report, the U.S. and Israel have been pressuring Egypt to remove the tanks and heavy vehicles from areas in Sinai where, according to the treaty, they are forbidden from entering.