In this Sept. 18, 2019 photo, a Lebanese deminer from Humanity and Inclusion, a French-based international non-governmental organization, removes sand from around an anti-personal mine, at a cedar forest, in Hadath El-Jebbeh, north Lebanon. Three decades after Lebanon's civil war ended, deminers are still working to clear this mountainous region in northern Lebanon famous for its forests of centuries-old cedar trees. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Lebanese clear civil war-era mines from famed cedar forests

September 27, 2019 - 1:22 am

HADATH EL-JEBBEH, Lebanon (AP) — Three decades after Lebanon's civil war ended, explosives experts are still working to remove mines from a mountainous northern region famous for its centuries-old cedar trees.

Lebanon's lush cedar forests are a source of pride for the small Mediterranean country. The ancient tree, often dubbed "Cedars of God," is emblazoned on the national flag, and forests across the north are prime tourist attractions.

Humanity and Inclusion, an international demining organization, says it has removed hundreds of anti-personnel mines and other explosives since 2011.

One deminer, Waheeb Humayed, said: "I feel very happy every time I discover a mine. I just feel that I helped save the life of a human being or an animal."

Brig. Gen. Jihad Al Bechelany says mines killed 918 people and wounded 2,886 in Lebanon since 1975.