ISIS has been sweeping what is believed to be the largest unexploded minefield for landmines buried by Nazi forces during WWII. The terrorist organization is so desperate to build their weapons arsenal that jidhadi’s are risking life and limb to recover the now-antique explosives buried in the sands along the coast of North West Egypt. Approximately 20 percent of the world’s landmines are located in the area thanks to Nazi forces planting 17.5 million of the pressure-sensitive bombs during a WWII campaign that took place between 1940 and 1943. Local authorities claim that several terrorist groups have been salvaging the weapons to repurpose into larger, more destructive, bombs since 2004.
The Egyptian government is working to counter the threat these untouched minefields present by destroying and clearing the mines. Unfortunately, the government has only been able to clear 3 million of the mines and clear 600,000 acres of land since efforts began in 1981. The government claims that they will remove the remaining landmines within the next three years.
The minefield provides more than a cheap and seemingly endless source of explosives for the terrorist group. They also provide safe refuge from local security and military forces. The area where most of the mines are concentrated is notoriously dangerous and local militaries have learned to avoid the area at all costs. Weapons smugglers and Radical Islamic militants hire local guides that have made a living from scavenging the weather beaten explosives for scrap metal. These guides provide safe passage through the area knowing military forces will not risk pursuing anyone through the area. The area has become somewhat of a refuge for terrorists, knowing they won’t stumble across enemy patrols that fear the landmines has provided a form of security for the extremists.
Arms researchers believe the terrorist group is also salvaging other long-forgotten weapons and selling them on black markets in Libya and other bazaars in the Middle East. N.R. Jenzen-Jones of Armament Research Services, claims British Revolvers, Italian Calvary Carbines, and even an operational Howitzer have also been salvaged from the area and either repurposed or sold for a profit.