Amid Tensions in North, IDF Sends More Troops to Border

Following Syria strike attributed to Israel, Chief of Staff, Israel Air Force commander cancel trips abroad.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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An IDF soldier patrolling Israel's border with Lebanon, August 2010.
An IDF soldier patrolling Israel's border with Lebanon, August 2010.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israel Defense Forces decided on Thursday to station additional infantry, artillery, and tank forces in the north, as well as to shorten the Israel Air Forces' mandatory response time.

The decision comes in the wake of the attack in Syria on Sunday that has been attributed to Israel.

The IDF has taken a series of steps in case there are repercussions on the northern border, including sending additional troops and stationing additional Iron Dome batteries in the area. Northern towns will see an increased presence of IDF patrols, too.

IDF officials also decided Thursday not to fully suspend weekend leave for all soldiers stationed in the north, but rather to decide to suspend leaves on a unit by unit basos. Officials have already decided to postpone or cancel scheduled operations that had not been deemed urgent or essential.

On Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Shahar Shochet, who commands the IAF's air defenses, visited the additional Iron Dome batteries deployed to the north. "We are continuing to increase our capabilities and sharpen our senses, in order to preserve our ability to function should there be developments," he said. Shochet's remarks were published on the IAF website.

Because of the tensions on the northern border, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz cancelled his trip to attend a conference for NATO military officials in Brussels. Gantz decided to cancel his trip after recent events, and remained in Israel to oversee IDF preparations in the north.

Gantz visited the Northern Command headquarters on Tuesday for a briefing. IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel also cancelled a trip abroad due to the situation.

On Wednesday, the IDF was on high alert due to suspicions of an infiltration through the Israel-Lebanon border. On Wednesday evening, security officials closed roads in the area, and instructed Israelis living near the border to remain home. After searches were inconclusive, the readiness level was lowered, and roads were reopened.

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