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Tel Aviv boosts troops at borders with Egypt and Syria

Published time: May 02, 2012 14:57
Edited time: May 03, 2012 09:29

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers (Reuters / Neil Cohen / IDF / Handout)

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Israel is to deploy at least 22 reserve battalions on its borders with Egypt and Syria, claiming the growing instability in the two countries makes it necessary to be ready for possible external security threats.

­The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has been given an approval of a call-up of additional force by Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee although they exceed the average. Reservists from six battalions have already received their orders, even though many of them are soldiers who have already completed their annual reserve duty.

Israeli generals say these troops are needed to deal with security threats which are coming from Israel’s borders with Egypt and Syria, and also because of growing instability in those countries.

The situation on the Sinai Peninsula which borders Israel is becoming unmanageable, RT’s correspondent Paula Slier reports from Israel. Since the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, she said, Sinai police have been attacked more than 50 times by local Palestinian jihadist groups, as well as by the local branch of Al-Qaeda which is operating in the region.

On April 22, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman said in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was more worried by developments along Israel's southern border than by the Iranian threat. He advises Netanyahu to send three or four divisions to the area and to prepare for political changes in Egypt.

For more than a year now Cairo has been  facing turmoil following the ouster of the longtime president. And with just three weeks left before elections scheduled for May 23-24 the violence continues.

On Wednesday, clashes between police and civilians saw at least 11 Egyptian protesters killed and more than 160 wounded in front of Defense Ministry in Cairo. People are protesting against Egypt’s ruling military body and disqualification of Islamist Salafi leader Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail from the presidential race.

Army troops have been deployed in Cairo ready to end the violence.

At the beginning of April, Egypt reinforced its army in Sinai, with Israeli permission, with seven battalions to combat terrorism on the peninsula. But Lieberman believes Egypt is possibly in breach of the peace treaty and will send more troops into Sinai without Israeli consent.

The Egyptian maneuvers came just days after suspected Sinai militants fired rockets at the residential area in the southern Israeli city of Eilat.

Meanwhile in Syria, violence is still continuing despite the ceasefire implemented on April12 and the observers’ mission on the ground. The Israeli-Syrian border lies near the Golan Heights, territory which Israel captured from its neighbor in 1967.

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