Israel to wall off Jordan border due to 'threats'

Israel to wall off Jordan border due to 'threats'
Israeli security analysis of increased threats from suspected IS-linked groups leads to stricter control of border with Arab neighbours.
2 min read
13 March, 2015
Israel says it is concerned by increased militant activity in the Sinai [AFP]

Israel has raised its security alert status on its southern borders with Egypt and the Red Sea region of Eilat as a precautionary measure to stop possible infiltration into the country by an Egypt-based militant group.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis ("Supporters of the Holy House") is an Islamic State group franchise, and has launched several attacks in the Sinai against Egyptian security personnel, in which a number of civilians have been injured.

Israel has raised its military status in the south of the country, to ready troops for possible simultaneous attacks by militant groups.

Colonel Eric Hien, an Israeli officer, said that his division was disturbed by the activity of the group in the Sinai, particularly after the organisation swore allegience to the Islamic State group.

"The Israeli army is concerned that the 'Sinai Brigade' might launch attacks against Israeli military and civil targets," Hien told reporters.

"The army is aware of the capabilities of this brigade, as manifested in the war it is fighting against the Egyptian forces in Sinai - which could be redirected against Israel."

Fears of militant groups launching a campaign of bombing in Israeli cities are creeping in. This has led to Israel ramping up security with its Arab neighbours.

     The Israeli army is concerned that the 'Sinai Brigade' might launch attacks against Israeli military and civil targets.
- Col Eric Hien, Israel military

Israel reportedly plans to build a new wall on the frontier with Jordan, after the construction of a new airport in the Timna area, close to the border.

Tel Aviv believes that the airport is vulnerable to attacks by armed groups that might have cells in Jordan formed from among a wave a refugees from Iraq and Syria.

According to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the first phase of the plan will involve the construction of a barrier along 30km on the southern borders with Jordan due to "geo-strategic changes".

An integrated defence system set to be constructed next to the airport includes the 30km wall, monitoring towers, and surveillance systems that could cost up to $500 million.

These plans have been in the pipeline for a number of years, one officer said, but were postponed due to the war in Syria and the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.