Mortar shell from British Mandate period discovered in forest near Jerusalem

The 81 mm. shell was packed with 500 grams of explosives and was safely diffused by police sappers, who arrived at the scene after being alerted by a father and son out walking.

 An 81 mm. mortar shell from the British Mandate discovered near Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha on January 1, 2021. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON"S UNIT)
An 81 mm. mortar shell from the British Mandate discovered near Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha on January 1, 2021.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON"S UNIT)

A British mortar shell from Israel's War of Independence period was discovered on Saturday near Maale Hahamisha, a kibbutz not far from Jerusalem, the Israel Police said.

The 81mm. shell was found by a father and son who were walking in a tree-covered area. Police sappers were summoned and found that the shell held 500 grams of explosives. They then carried out a controlled explosion after closing off the area.

The Israel Police said that it asks citizens who come across and locate unidentified or suspicious items not to approach or touch them, as they may explode and endanger human life. 

This is not the first time in recent months that Israeli civilians or security forces have found dangerous explosives left over from past wars.

In November, A huge Syrian bunker full of ammunition from the Six-Day War was uncovered in the Golan Heights by the Defense Ministry’s Mine Action Authority.

Mortar bombs extracted from a recently excavated Six Day War era Syrian bunker (credit: Defense Ministry/Mine Action Authority)Mortar bombs extracted from a recently excavated Six Day War era Syrian bunker (credit: Defense Ministry/Mine Action Authority)

The bunker was laden with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, mortar bombs of various diameters, pyrotechnics, explosives and more. All were found in bulk and in their original packaging.

The site, known as Mitzpe Gadot in Hebrew and El Murtafa in Arabic, was one of the most fortified outposts belonging to the Syrian Arab Army on the Golan Heights before the war in 1967.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.