Armed forces establish defensive rock barrier to secure Suez Canal
Egyptian Army - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Ahead of President-elect Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s inauguration ceremony Sunday, military forces are adopting high-security measures under The “Iron Fist” plan, in which different state security bodies are working together with intelligence services.

The plan includes a strategy implemented by the armed forces that consists of building large defensive rock barriers and walls along the Suez Canal to secure it against terrorist attacks, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Saturday.

The barrier consists of three meters of rubble, topped off by a fourth meter of metal and costs an estimated 1 billion EGP ($139.8 million), and the first phase of construction is in southern Port Said.

Originally adopted by Sisi while he was serving as defense minister, the barrier is integrated into military installations already present at and around the canal. These include air and artillery defense elements to cover crucial points in the defense plan, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported a security source as saying.

The construction of the wall, under the supervision of the Suez Canal Authority, extends from Port-Said in the North to Suez in the South. Most of the work near Port Said has already been completed, according to Port Said Governor Samah Kandil.

Last April, Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted Third Army Assistant Commander Maj. Mohamed Ali Shams el-Din as saying that 45 percent of the defensive wall for the canal’s southern point at Suez had been completed and that it would extend over 65 kilometers and cost 150 million EGP.

Meanwhile, Suez Chief of Security Khalil Harb told Al-Shorouq Saturday that the entrances to the city were secured by regular security checkpoints, in addition to the deployment of 6,000 soldiers to secure the canal’s eastern and western strips on Sisi’s inauguration day.

In September 2013, a Sinai-based jihadist group with roots in the Gaza Strip called the Forqan Brigade (Kataeb al-Forqan), claimed responsibility for targeting the Cosco Asia freight ship, and broadcast a video of a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the ship.

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