The Defense Ministry on Monday completed a project to clear some 10,000 anti-personnel mines in the Eilat region as part of an effort to prepare the area for tourism, trade and agriculture.
The minefield, adjacent to the Arava highway, spanned 124 acres and dated back to 1968. It was planted by the IDF and “is no longer essential to the security of the state,” the ministry said.
The Mine Clearance Authority, an agency recently established by the ministry, led the efforts and said part of the newly available land will be converted into a preserve.
Authority director Ervin Lavi said the agency has now neutralized some 30,000 mines around the country. Prior to working near Eilat, it cleared 20,000 anti-personnel mines in the Ein Yahav region of the Arava.
Authorities are now turning their attention to minefields in the Golan Heights, with a view to making room for farms, construction and nature preserves, Lavi said.
In May, and IDF Engineering Corps soldier, 18-yearold Cpl. Roee Yisrael Alfi, was killed while clearing a minefield in the Golan.