Israel will extend fortifications along border with Jordan to keep out Isis

Israel will beef up its border protections in response to Middle East unrest

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The Independent Online

Israel's Security Cabinet has approved the construction of a new stretch of high-tech fencing along its border with Jordan, aimed at further preventing Islamist terrorists such as members of Isis or Al-Qaeda from entering the country.

The barrier is set to span 30 kilometres (19 miles) in the south of the country, near the Red Sea. As well as keeping out potential attackers, the fence is also intended to prevent African migrants from entering the country through Jordan, after travelling across the Red Sea.

Israel's government worries that a route via Jordan, which is not as tightly secured as the rest of its border, may be a possible entryway for its enemies, especially after the border with Egypt was fenced off in 2013.

During a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committe, Prime Minister Netanyahu called the extension of the Jordanian border fence "important", and said it is a "very important step" in Israel's national security.

He added that it will join the fence built along the Sinai and Golan Heights borders, which he said have been important in keeping out illegal migrants and "the various terrorist movements".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the fence was not an act of aggression or intimidation towards Jordan, saying the fence will be constructed "without in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan".

Netanyahu added that the fence would also protect the Timna airport that is due to open next year, one that has been billed as an alternative 'second airport' that could be used in times of war, in case the Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv comes under attack.

Israel has plenty of practice in fencing off its borders, with complex defence systems in place along the border with Syria and Egypt.

The West Bank, too, is almost entirely fenced off by chain-link fencing, aimed at protecting Israel from Palestinian attack.

This beefing up of border security is a response to unrest in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and Syria, with which Israel shares its eastern and western borders.

Earlier this month, Israeli media reported that the military had been placed on high alert following unrest due to Isis-affiliated groups in Egypt, which resulted in Egyptian security targets such as police stations and military checkpoints being attacked.