Israel will build a security fence to separate it from Egypt.
The decision to close open sections of the border in areas at risk for infiltration was made Wednesday at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Cabinet members, and heads of the defense and security services.
The fence is expected to take several years to complete and may force budget cuts of some $200 million.
Construction will start in northern Nitzana and southern Eilat, which are considered vulnerable. Monitoring of other areas with troops and aerial surveillance will be increased.
The impetus for the new security measures was the Jan. 23 attack on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Hamas terrorists blew up sections of the border fence, resulting in nearly two weeks of free passage between the two areas.
Israeli officials believe arms, drugs and other contraband likely passed from Egypt to Gaza, and terrorists to the Sinai, during the free-for-all at the border, which was sealed on Sunday.