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Middle east

Netanyahu pledges new border fence with Syria

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-07

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to erect a new barrier on the country’s border with Syria in a bid to prevent jihadists fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s regime from entering Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to erect a new border fence along the border with Syria on the occupied Golan Heights amid concern over the growing influence of jihadist fighters among Syrian rebels.

“We know that on the other side of our border with Syria today, the Syrian army has moved away, and in its place global jihad forces have moved in”, said Netanyahu during his weekly cabinet meeting, referring to radical Islamist fighters who have joined the war against the Syrian regime.

The Israeli leader said the frontier with Syria should be fortified with a structure similar to the ultra-modern barrier being completed along the border with Egypt in the Sinai peninsula, which includes cameras, radars and motion detectors.

Israeli defence officials told the AFP news agency that 10 kilometres out of the planned 70-kilometre barrier had already been erected on the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967.

The Israeli premier, who is currently burnishing his national security credentials ahead of the January 22 election, is also concerned that Syria’s embattled Assad may be tempted to draw Israel into the fighting in a bid to hold on to power.

Israel has already reinforced its current border fence after waves of protesters coming from Palestinian refugee camps in Syria tried to cross the frontier in June 2011, prompting deadly Israeli gunfire.

The incident was widely seen as a sign that the Syrian regime was ready to use its decade-long conflict with Israel as a way to deflect attention from anti-regime protests.

Date created : 2013-01-07

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