Israel Defense Forces Combat Engineering is in the process of demining 6,500 landmines from church compounds near Jericho, Israel. Sappers working to disable landmines in the Land of the Monasteries found out last week, as the Israel Defense Force’s Combat Engineering Unit detonated the largest minefield at the site to date in the seven heavily-mined church compounds on the Israeli-Jordanian border. 2,036 mines later, the mission is approaching To conclude, when this week there was another significant beating in the project – and 446 landmines were evacuated from the ground.
After more than a week of preparation, sappers detonated a line of anti-tank mines with a single explosion that sent dust dozens of meters into the air. There are approximately 6,500 landmines in the Land of the Monasteries, and this 900-mine explosion was the biggest single detonation since demining work began at the site over a year ago. For decades, the bullet-pocked church buildings stood shuttered, yellow signs flapping in the wind warning of landmines.
Qasr al-Yahud located about 10 kilometers (six miles) east of Jericho, is the spot on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. Qasr al-Yahud was a popular Christian pilgrimage spot until 1968, when Israel blocked access and enfolded it in the closed military zone along the border with Jordan, fearing terrorists could use the churches as a staging ground for attacks on Israeli settlements. The Jordan River is only a few meters wide at that point.
The Israeli Combat Engineering Corps (Heil HaHandasa HaKravit) is the combat engineering forces of the Israel Defense Forces. Its roles include mobility assurance, road breaching, defense and fortifications, counter-mobility of enemy forces, construction and destruction under fire, sabotage, explosives, bomb disposal, counter-weapons of mass destruction (NBC) and special engineering missions. In the IDF, the demolition experts are united in Sayeret Yael of Yahalom (Sayeret is the Hebrew term for a SF elite unit) and therefore gain high infantry training as well.