Israel eyes completion of Egypt border fence by August

Special to

TEL AVIV — Israel reported that it was about to complete its barrier
along the border with Egypt.

Officials said the Defense Ministry expected to complete the
220-kilometer border fence with Egypt by August. They said the barrier
would be enhanced with electronic and other monitoring devices over the next
few months.

An Israeli Defense Forces soldier stands at the newly built barrier on the border between Egypt and Israel on June 18. /Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

“There is still much work to do but we are on the right track,” Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on July 8.

On July 8, Defense Ministry Deputy director-general Betzalel Treiber
told Cabinet-level meeting that more than 200 kilometers of the border fence has been essentially completed. Treiber said the entire project would be completed by October.

The exception would be a 14-kilometer section of the barrier along the
mountains that overlook the Red Sea port of Eilat. Treiber said that section would be completed by 2013.

The project has also included the construction of detention centers for the thousands of African migrants who have been infiltrating Israel from neighboring Egypt. In 2012, up to 2,000 Eritreans and Sudanese were being smuggled into Israel from Egypt’s Gaza Strip. An estimated 60,000 African migrants have been living in Israel.

“He also said that in the coming month, 4,000 holding places for
detained infiltrators would be added and that over 12,000 places would be
available by the end of the year,” Netanyahu’s office said.

At the meeting convened by Netanyahu, the Defense Ministry released data
on the monthly infiltration over the Egyptian-Israeli border. Officials were
told that 928 infiltrators were captured in Israel in June 2012 and 2,031
during the previous month.

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