Israeli leader orders Egypt barrier finished

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JERUSALEM: Israel’s prime minister says he has ordered workers to speed up construction of a security fence along the border with Egypt.

Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the main aim of a fence which Israel is building on its border with Egypt is now to block militants and not just smugglers and illegal migrants.

"Putting up the fence is first of all against terror activity, and only after that against (other) infiltrators," army radio quoted him as saying during a tour of the border.

The directive comes weeks after Gaza-based militants killed eight people in a series of attacks after allegedly crossing the border from Egypt. Six Egyptian security personnel were latter killed by Israeli gunfire.

Netanyahu said the fence would be finished next September, three months earlier than planned. He said "rapid construction is important for both peace and security."

Israel began constructing the fence late last year to stem the influx of thousands of illegal migrants through the porous border, which has also been a major drug and human trafficking route into Israel.

The fence, fortified by an electronic barrier, is expected to cover the entire length of the 200-kilometer (125-mile) border, the Israeli Defense Ministry said.

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