Israel detonates 350 landmines to clear Golan field

Controlled explosions takes place at boobytrapped site near Daughters of Jacob Bridge in southern Golan Heights

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Defense Ministry detonated some 350 landmines on the Golan Heights on Tuesday afternoon, as part of a government project to clear boobytrapped fields throughout the country.

The 350 mines were exploded in several bursts in a minefield located near the Daughters of Jacob Bridge in the southern portion of the Golan Heights.

The explosion was originally slated for 12 p.m., but was pushed back repeatedly. Shortly after 1:30 p.m., the detonation began but only the first line of mines exploded due to a disconnect in the wires between the explosives.

The rest were exploded a few minutes later.

“The lands that were cleared will become the responsibility of the Golan regional council and the Majdal Shams community. They can be used for agriculture, tourism or any other civilian need,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

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The detonation was performed by the ministry’s National Mine Action Authority, which has already cleared approximately 1,000 mines in the area since 2017, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said.

Tuesday’s detonation was broadcast live on the ministry’s Facebook page.

A line of landmines are detonated in a field in the southern Golan Heights as part of a mine clearing effort on July 24, 2018. (Defense Ministry)

Israel has a number of still active minefields in the Golan Heights and along the Jordanian border, mostly leftover from the country’s wars.

Some of these mines were planted by the Israeli military, while others were put there by Syria and Jordan.

In 2011, the government passed a law calling for all the nation’s minefields to be cleared, after a number of high profile cases of people, including children, being injured by mines.

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