The IDF has begun clearing some 700 land mines from the Jordan Valley border region this week.

The mines, some 40 years old, will be neutralized through controlled explosions by IDF Engineering Corps bomb squad officers in the advanced phases of their training.

“This comes as part of a wider trend to reduce the number of mine fields,” said Lt.-Col. Roee Zilberberg, the Engineering Corps officer of Battalion 162, which is responsible for the Jordan Valley.

“These mines have lost their operational uses, and are not needed. They also pose a danger [to travelers],” Zilberberg said.

The cleared mine fields are then turned over to civilian ownership, and are used as farmland.

Three IDF Engineering Corps companies are involved in the minefield clearing.

“They are in advanced training. Here, they will see a real mine and hear the explosion. It’s a sign they are ready for operational mine clearing,” Zilberberg added.

“The officer has to sense the real thing to be operationally ready.”

The bomb squad officers will enter the fields with mine sweepers and locate the mines, before attaching explosives to them and detonating them. The entire operation is being carried out manually, without the use of robots.

The operation is being closely coordinated with Jordan.

The IDF has passed on information on the location of the mine sweeps, and asked that Jordanian civilians be notified to expect to hear the blasts.

Jordan has also placed fire trucks on its side of the border, on standby.

The clearing operation began on Monday, and is set to be complete by Thursday.

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