Land mine

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A land mine (sometimes landmine) is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact.

The name originates from the ancient practice of military mining, where tunnels were dug under enemy fortifications or troop formations by sappers. These tunnels ("mines") were at first collapsed to destroy targets located above, but they were later filled with explosives and detonated in order to cause greater devastation.

Nowadays, in common parlance, land mines generally refer to devices specifically manufactured as anti-personnel or anti-vehicle weapons and should be distinguished from improvised explosive devices ("IEDs").

The use of land mines is controversial because they are indiscriminate weapons, harming soldier and civilian alike.

They can remain dangerous many years after a conflict has ended, harming the economy of many developing nations. With pressure from a number of campaign groups to prohibit their use lead to a 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known informally as the Ottawa Treaty. As of 2007, a total of 158 nations have agreed to the treaty.

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