An explosion of 350 land mines on the Golan Heights was broadcast live Tuesday as part of Israel’s National Mine Action Authority’s mandate to clear the plateau of old ordinance.
Similar controlled mass explosions have been carried out since last summer as part of the INMAA’s 3-year project to de-mine the Golan Heights.
In 2010, Daniel Yuval, 11, lost a leg to a land mine while walking across a snowy field in the Golan Heights. Following this incident, the Knesset enacted the Minefield Clearance Act in 2011. Since 2012, the INMAA has cleared more than 700 hectares of Syrian minefields placed before 1967 when Israel captured the strategic heights. The authority clears between 150-200 hectares per year, depending on its annual budget.
The INMAA has also removed minefields in the Arava Valley and the West Bank, including Qasr al-Yahud – a historic site where Joshua led the Children of Israel to ford the Jordan River, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
While the INMAA knows of some 825 hectares of minefields yet to be cleared throughout the country, a further 9,000 hectares are suspected of being mined.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.