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Israel to build surveillance system to track activity along Cyprus’s Green Line

Technology will monitor attempts at smuggling and illegal migration, as well as provide military intelligence, officials say

A woman protects her face from the cold as she walks by the "Green Line" with barbed wire and fences at the Greek controlled area by the UN buffer zone and in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Monday 9, 2017. (AP/Petros Karadjias)
A woman protects her face from the cold as she walks by the "Green Line" with barbed wire and fences at the Greek controlled area by the UN buffer zone and in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Monday 9, 2017. (AP/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA — Cyprus signed a deal Thursday for Israel’s military to build an electronic surveillance system to monitor activity along the UN-patrolled Green Line across the divided Mediterranean island.

“It is an electronic surveillance system that will provide us with images 24 hours a day,” Cypriot Defense Ministry spokesperson Christos Pieris told the Cyprus News Agency. “It will be installed at various points on the Green Line.”

The 180-kilometer (112 mile) Green Line has split the island from east to west since 1974.

It divides the Republic of Cyprus, the European Union’s most easterly member, from the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Ankara.

The surveillance system will monitor activity such as smuggling and illegal migration, as well as provide military intelligence, officials said.

In May, Cyprus said it was in a “state of emergency” because of an inflow of Syrian migrants overwhelming reception centers.

In the past four years, the number of asylum seekers in Cyprus has reached four percent of its population, compared to one percent in other EU states, the government says.

The security system, costing 27.5 million euros ($32 million), is expected to take three years to complete.

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