The decades-old remains of a Jordanian soldier, carrying a rifle in his hand and a bayonet in his belt, were found during work on a new light rail line near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Also found near the skeleton were a box of bullets and a few grenades. It is most likely that the soldier was killed during battles at the site in the Six-Day War. The find was first reported on Channel 12 News.
The excavations near the Ammunition Hill battle site were part of the laying of the new Green Line branch of the light rail train in the capital. Two weeks ago, a bazooka shell from the Jordanian Arab Legion was also found in the area, and the police bomb squad dismantled and removed it. A few years ago, two skeletons of Jordanian soldiers were found near Armon Hanatziv in the southern part of the city, and they were handed over to the Jordanians.
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The battle on Ammunition Hill has become a famous landmark of Israel’s wars. On the second day of the 1967 War, Israeli paratroopers charged at hill, held by two Jordanian infantry companies. After four hours of bitter fighting the hill was taken at the cost of 36 Israeli and 71 Jordanian dead, and several dozen injured from both sides. Struck by the bravery and perseverance of their enemies, the Israeli soldiers improvised a small epitaph in the form of a sign on top of a Jordanian rifle, which said: “Army of Israel, IDF: buried here are 17 brave Jordanian soldiers. June 7 1967.”
Katriel Maoz, the director general of the Ammunition Hill memorial site, wrote on Facebook after the skeleton was found: “He waited for us for 54 years! He reported for duty in his post equipped with all the necessary equipment, determined to meet the enemy, in his hand a rifle (and maybe even a sniper’s scope) alongside a case filled with shiny bullets, on his belt a bayonet in case he is forced to fight hand to hand and alongside sat quite a few grenades. He is determined, knows the post he is deployed in is important to prevent the attacking force from reaching the trenches. Glimpsing once in a while at his watch, he has already heard the war broke out.”
“[…] it is possible that the idea that his life would end here crawled into his head, and despite that he did not abandon his post,” wrote Maoz. “"‘Here are buried … brave Jordanian soldiers’ – is written on the sign at the top of the hill, a sign the Paratroopers put up after the fighting was over. I have no doubt that he joins the list!”