Israel using cluster munitions in Lebanon: rights group

Mon Jul 24, 6:12 PM ET

NEW YORK (AFP) - Human Rights Watch said that
Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in
Lebanon, killing a civilian, and called on the Jewish
state to immediately cease the practice.

The New York-based rights group said researchers on
the ground in Lebanon confirmed that Israel staged a
cluster munitions attack on the village of Blida on
July 19, leaving one person dead and injuring 12
civilians, including seven children.

The report said researchers had also photographed
cluster munitions in the arsenal of Israeli artillery
teams stationed at the Lebanese border.

"Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and
unreliable weapons when used around civilians,"
Kenneth Roth, executive directory of Human Rights
Watch, said in a statement. "They should never be used
in populated areas."

Researchers interviewed witnesses of the Blida attack
who said Israelis had fired shells which dropped
hundreds of cluster munitions on the village.

Cluster munitions are particularly dangerous because
they have a high level of duds that can explode much
later after the attack.

Human Rights Watch said the US use of cluster
munitions was the leading cause of civilian deaths
during the invasion of
Iraq in March-April 2003, killing or injuring more
than 1,000 Iraqi non-combatants.

Belgium became the first country to ban use of cluster
munitions in February 2006, followed by a moratorium
declared by Norway four months later, Human Rights
Watch said, noting there was a growing international
movement against their use.

Last week, Human Rights Watch said Hezbollah's attacks
on Israel with imprecise rockets in civilian areas
violated international humanitarian law and most
likely constituted "war crimes."


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