QASR AL-YAHUD, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli and foreign engineers sounded the all-clear on Sunday around three churches on the western bank of the Jordan River, near where Jesus is believed to have been baptized, after mines that had marooned the shrines for decades were cleared.
The river banks were once a war zone between Israel and Jordan, and were littered with thousands of landmines and unexploded ordnance. The two neighbors made peace in 1994 but it took many years before the defusing and clearing began.
Churches - Years - Area - Operations - Kilometer
Seven churches have lain abandoned for more than 50 years in the area of operations, about a kilometer (half-mile) from the Qasr al-Yahud baptism site in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is a major draw for Christian pilgrims.
Israel’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday that mine-clearing had been completed around three of the shrines – belonging to the Franciscan order and the Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian churches – though they have yet...
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