The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday closed a stretch of Route 10, the highway running parallel to the Egyptian border, to civilian traffic.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz cited security concerns in arriving at the decision, which, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, will be in place for a year.
Unrest in the Sinai Peninsula has spiraled out of control since Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was deposed in 2011. Rising lawlessness among Bedouin tribes and the armament of Islamic extremist groups is a key issue for both Israeli and Egyptian security forces.
In September 2012, an Israeli soldier was killed in a gunfight with terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda.
A month earlier, Islamist terrorists attacked an Egyptian army post near the Israeli border, killing 16 security officers, and commandeered an armored personnel carrier. The attackers careened the APC through the Kerem Shalom border crossing and into Israel before an Israeli Air Force jet destroyed it. The attack precipitated a brutal crackdown by the Egyptian military in the peninsula, in which dozens of terrorists were killed or imprisoned.
In a brazen cross-border attack in August 2011, terrorists from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel through the Sinai Peninsula, killing eight people in a daylight ambush. In the ensuing firefight between IDF troops and the terrorists, a reported three Egyptian soldiers were inadvertently killed.
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