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Teenage boy rescued by IDF after entering minefield in north

Unclear why 17-year-old wandered into area near Kibbutz Meitzar; combat engineering soldiers guide him out in lengthy operation

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli combat engineering troops extract a teenager from a minefield near Kibbutz Meitzar, January 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli combat engineering troops extract a teenager from a minefield near Kibbutz Meitzar, January 24, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Combat Engineering Corps soldiers and other rescue personnel extracted a teenager from a minefield in the Golan Heights that he had wandered into for unclear reasons on Tuesday night.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops were called to the scene near the northern Kibbutz Meitzar after the 17-year-old boy entered the minefield.

It was unclear whether he had wandered in accidentally or on purpose.

The combat engineering troops delicately guided the boy to safety using special shoes in a several-hours-long operation.

Additional forces and a rescue helicopter of the elite search-and-rescue Unit 669 were also called to the scene.

“The boy was rescued safely and is now being examined by military medics,” the IDF said in a statement.

Israeli combat engineering troops extract a teenager from a minefield near Kibbutz Meitzar, January 24, 2023. (Courtesy)

Many of Israel’s border regions in the Golan Heights and southern Arava region are pocked with minefields planted during wars in the early years of the state.

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

Efforts to remove them are dangerous and have been painstakingly slow, leaving the Golan and Arava with a number of fenced-off minefields. Accidents are rare, but occasionally occur.

In 2013, a soldier was killed when a mine exploded while he attempted to clear a field in the Golan.

Three years earlier, two children were injured after running into a minefield on Mount Hermon, sparking a law calling for all the nation’s minefields to be cleared.

The Defense Ministry says it has cleared tens of thousands of mines since the 1990s.

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