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Thursday, August 25, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel forms commando unit to secure its border
with Egypt

TEL AVIV — The Israel Army has established a commando force to fight along the border with Egypt.


The military has reported the establishment of a commando reconnaissance unit to enhance security along the 205-kilometer border with Egypt. The unit, called Rimon, was formed by the Army's Southern Command and meant to battle insurgents from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, deemed a haven for Hamas and Al Qaida.

"The soldiers in the unit are extremely diverse: Ethiopians, Russians, Druse, Orthodox Jews, lone soldiers," a Rimon officer, identified only as Lt. Y., said. "This diversity keeps them united."

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Rimon was said to be in the preliminary stages of development. Officers said Rimon was trained for both conventional and urban warfare, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

"The unit's primary mission is to thwart all terrorist activities in the region," the military said on Aug. 23.

Officers said Rimon would play a major role in operations along the Egyptian border, Middle East Newsline reported. They cited a Hamas-aligned attack from Sinai on Aug. 18 in which eight Israelis were killed and 30 others injured.

"The vast southern region of Israel is prone to terror activities, necessitating a commando force trained to engage in combat against terrorist cells operating in the area," the military said.

For his part, Lt. Y. said the new unit was still shaping its identity. He pointed out that the army had operated a Rimon unit decades ago.

"Anything you do both good or bad, defines the unit," Lt. Y. said. "Every tradition we start will last for generations."

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