"Israel Says It Doesn’t Have Maps of Mines!"
UNIFIL Spokesman Timur Goksel
13 January 2001
Israel has told the United Nations it does not have maps showing the location of a large number of land mines in south Lebanon, UNIFIL spokesman Timur Goksel said on Friday.
Goksel said Israel had given UNIFIL maps for about 70,000 mines planted along the Lebanese-Israeli border, but not inside the former occupation zone.
“Israel said it does not have maps for the mines planted by their local militia,” he said.
Most of the mines inside the 1,000-square-kilometer zone were planted by Israel and the South Lebanon Army. The land mines maim or kill civilians in the area almost daily.
Hizbullah has demanded maps of the land mines in the area as part of a deal to hand back Israeli soldiers it holds.
Goksel’s comments came as three Lebanese soldiers were slightly wounded in Dibbine when mines they were attempting to defuse exploded.
The soldiers, who sustained wounds to their hands and arms, were taken for treatment to the public hospital in Marjayoun.
The Dibbine area was planted with some 1,500 mines, of which 40 percent have been removed, the army has said.
Nine Lebanese civilians have been killed and 63 wounded by mines since the Israeli withdrawal in May. The latest injuries bring to 15 the number of Lebanese troops hurt during mine-clearing operations.
The UN estimates that there are at least 130,000 Israeli mines and unexploded shells remaining in the South.