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Sisters aged 6 and 13 rescued after walking into minefield near Dead Sea

Girls reportedly wandered into area by mistake because sign warning of mines had fallen down

A minefield in southern Israel where two young girls -- one in red at left, and the other in blue at right -- accidentally entered on April 13, 2022. (Arava Rescue Services)
A minefield in southern Israel where two young girls -- one in red at left, and the other in blue at right -- accidentally entered on April 13, 2022. (Arava Rescue Services)

Rescue personnel extracted two young sisters from a minefield in southern Israel that they apparently wandered into while on a family hike.

Police said the pair — ages 6 and 13 — were nearly done hiking at Nahal Tamar, a riverbed in the Dead Sea area, when they accidentally entered the area.

Both girls were safely rescued by emergency personnel, including sappers from the Israel Defense Forces, who delicately guided the two to safety using special shoes in a nearly two-hour operation.

According to Channel 12 news, the girls, who live in central Israel, walked into the area because the sign marking it as a minefield fell down.

The army had originally been planning on fixing the sign later Wednesday, the station said.

A sign marking the minefield was seen in one picture distributed by local rescue authorities.

סוף טוב לאירוע באזור ים המלח: שתי האחיות בנות 6 ו 13 שטעו במסלול ונכנסו לשדה מוקשים חולצו בשלום.ארנולד נטייב – כתב רדיו דרום צילום: יחידת חילוץ ערבה תיכונה

Posted by ‎רדיו דרום‎ on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

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

A sign warning of mines next to a field near Nahal Tamar that two girls, seen in background, accidentally walked into on April 13, 2022. (Arava Rescue Services)

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 attempting to clear a field on the Golan Heights.

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 army says it has cleared tens of thousands of mines since the 1990s.

A statement from police urged hikers to stick to marked trails.

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