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IDF Forces to Form Permanent Patrol at Egyptian Border

The IDF sent the Givati division on Thursday to become the first permanent patrol force along Israel’s border with Egypt since Israeli troops vacated the area following August's Gaza disengagement.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 2/17/2006, 6:54 AM / Last Update: 2/16/2006, 5:50 PM

The army’s troops will work together with Border Police and armored forces, using vehicles and surveillance equipment from the southern city of Eilat up to Nitzana further north.

Security at the Philadelphia Route was transferred from Israeli hands into Egypt’s authority in September 2006 after the disengagement was completed.

The move comes in response to an increase in terrorist activity since last summer’s evacuation from Gaza. Troops will focus their activities on preventing terrorist infiltration into Israel from Egypt as well as stopping weapons smugglers.

IDF sources said terrorists may be crossing into Egypt from Gaza, using the Rafiah crossing, and then coming into Israel from Egypt. Another concern is the recent establishment of an Al-Qaida presence in Egypt, an additional reason to secure the border against the possibility of international terrorism.

IDF Southern Command has now formulated the Hourglass Plan to fence off areas that now function as ports of entry for smugglers. In addition to trapping terrorists and weapons smugglers, the new plan will prevent illegal foreign workers, prostitutes, tobacco and drug smugglers from infiltrating Israel along the Egyptian border.