Iraq completes removal of 12,000 landmines near oil wells

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Iraq's Ministry of Interior said Monday (January 14th) that authorities have cleared 12,000 landmines -- remnants of the former Iraqi army -- near oil wells around the country.

The operation, which covered four oilfields in Iraq's southern, western and northern regions, was completed with direct assistance from the environment and defence ministries, as well as the UN mission in Iraq, said Col. Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari, director of media and communications at the Interior Ministry.

"The clearance of these landmines took place in the last three months," he said, adding that authorities also "found weapons caches and RPGs buried under the ground, which could have made their way to militants if they hadn't been found us".

"The Iraqi northern and southern oil companies, as well as four foreign investing companies, will resume their work in those areas by the beginning of next month," al-Masari said.

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