The Israeli boy who was seriously injured over the weekend when a land mine exploded in the Golan Heights said on Sunday that the area his family had been visiting had not been marked as a closed military zone.
"At the place where we were playing there was no fence and we could all enter freely," said Daniel Yuval, 11, adding that there "there was a fence further up the mountain."
Yuval was injured along with four more people while on a trip to the Mount Avital region, near Kibbutz Merom Golan at the Golan Heights.
An initial investigation revealed that he apparently tripped the mine, sustaining serious injuries to his legs. His sister, 12, suffered moderate shrapnel injuries in the face. Their brother and two adults sustained minor injuries.
"When I stepped on the mine," Yuval said, "there was a huge explosion and I thought at first that it was a bad dream."
"I heard loud noise, and I didn't understand what was happening until we went down the mountain and I asked my dad," he added. "Once I understood what had happened I was scared, but I didn't scream or cry."
"Before the explosion, my father, little brother, sister and I climbed to the peak of the mountain and were making a snow man. There were no fences there and there were many people skiing in the area," Yuval said.
"After the other people heard the explosion they left the mountain, but only later did we understand what happened," he added.
"Daniel calmed me down," said his father, Guy Yuval, who was also hospitalized. "He was very brave and from the minute it happened he was in his best behavior. I don't know any adults who would have behaved nay better."
Dr. Eran Talor, a senior Rambam emergency room doctor, said earlier that Daniel had suffered serious leg injuries, while his sister Amit sustained minor shrapnel injuries.
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Office issued a statement immediately following the event, saying that the IDF regrets the incident and wishes a speedy recovery to the victims.
The IDF statement explained that the area where the land mine exploded was a clearly marked military zone. "It is the IDF's responsibility to provide security, while allowing Israel's citizens to travel safely, even along the borders. The IDF Spokesperson's Office begs the public to heed instructions offered by the security services, and to refrain from entering, for any reason, areas where live fire is engaged, land mines and Palestinian territories," the statement said.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War. There are still a few minefields in the area which are fenced off with barbed wire. Reports of people being injured after straying into the zones are rare.
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