Southern field intelligence battalion celebrates first year

Archive photo

Chief Field Intelligence Officer: Eitam Battalion has “successfully thwarted and prevented incursions, smuggling, and infiltrations into Israeli territory”

Date: 13/04/2013, 8:57 PM     Author: Noam Witman

The Eitam Battalion, one of the Southern Command’s two field intelligence battalions, recently celebrated a successful first year in a ceremony held in Ashkelon, attended by the Chief Field Intelligence Officer, Brig. Gen. Buy Bar Lev.

The Eitam Battalion, the IDF (Zahal)’s fourth field intelligence battalion, is tasked with protecting the area near the Israeli-Egyptian border.

“The Battalion was established in light of the security needs on Israel’s western border,” explained the Eitam Battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Erez Savion. “Its goal is to prevent terror activity, to prevent infiltrations and smuggling. The Battalion consists mostly of defensive means that operate in the Edom Formation, and thus its job is to predict and to warn of the next incident.”

Southern field intelligence battalion celebrates first year

Archive photo of soldiers of the Eitam Battalion training. Photo: Hadas Duvdevani, IDF (Zahal) Website

The Eitam Battalion was formed in March 2012, in light of a rise in terror activity on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. On August 18, 2011, a group of terrorists from the Gaza Strip had infiltrated southern Israel via Egypt and carried out a series of terror attacks on Israelis north of the city of Eilat, killing eight and wounding 40.

Since then, the IDF (Zahal) and other Israeli bodies have taken a number of steps so as to prevent further cross-border terror attacks. In addition to the formation of the Eitam Battalion, the IDF (Zahal) is involved in the Hour Glass Project, in which Israel is building a fence along its border with Egypt.

The measures taken by the IDF (Zahal) have increased the security of the area near the Egyptian border. On September 9, 2012, terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel from Egypt and carry out a large-scale attack. IDF (Zahal) forces thwarted the terrorists’ plans, but Pvt. Netanel Yahalomi was killed and another IDF (Zahal) soldier injured in the incident.