Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster congratulated the Ministry of Defense’s Israel National Mine Action Authority on Wednesday for completing an operation to clear an area of the Negev Desert near the Egyptian border of mines.

The area, stretching out 2,700 dunams (1 square mile), has been made safe for setting up farmland and building new homes for families, said Schuster’s office in a statement.

“Releasing these territories enables a strengthening of agricultural settlement on our western border,” stated Schuster, himself a former head of the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council in the Negev.

He pledged to continue to clear mine zones, firing zones and camps that can be evacuated by the defense establishment throughout Israel to benefit farming, tourism and settlement.

The Israel National Mine Action Authority deals with thousands of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines that have been planted in former combat zones across Israel.

According to its website, some of the mines “were placed to serve Israel’s operational and security needs, and others were placed by neighboring countries during times of conflict. As a result of erosion, many mines have shifted locations. This poses a significant threat to civilians in affected regions.”

The mine authority was established by the defense ministry in 2011 and is responsible for determining policy and demining priorities, as well as managing mine-clearance initiatives.


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