Israel clears 300 landmines in major Golan Heights operations

Largest controlled explosion to date part of plan to remove thousands of devices from 2-3 square kilometers

Israel cleared 300 landmines in the Golan Heights on Monday in the largest controlled explosion to date in an ongoing project to secure the strategic platuea.

The operation began in August and is expected to continue for two to three years.

The plan is to clear thousands of mines from an area of two to three square kilometers (0.7-1.15 square miles), which makes up some 10 percent of the total mined area in the Golan and on the bank of the Sea of Galilee.

The mines were laid by the Syrian army some 50 years ago, prior to the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel has thousands of fields that are off-limits due to both anti-personnel and anti-tank minefields. Some were placed there by Israel but are no longer necessary for security. Others were laid by the Syrian, Jordanian and Egypt armies. Other areas are dangerous due to the mines shifting due to the soil moving.

To date, some 200,000 mines have been cleared from a total of some nine square kilometers (3.5 square miles) across the country.

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