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Middle East
Israel probes use of cluster bombs
Israel's military investigates its use of cluster bombs during the Lebanon war.
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2006 20:58 GMT
Israeli ground and air forces are to be investigated

A senior Israeli military official has ordered a full investigation into the use of cluster bombs by Israeli forces during the Lebanon war, according to media reports.
Israeli media reported on Sunday that Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, Israel's chief of staff, had ordered a full investigation into the use of such munitions during the recent war.
 
The reports quoting Israeli officials said that Halutz had prohibited the wide use of cluster bombs during the war.

But the ground forces did use these munitions.

More than 20 people have been killed and 70 wounded, mostly civilians, by cluster bombs since the end of the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in mid-August.

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The usage of cluster bombs by Israeli gunners came to light during an internal military investigation, Israel's Channel 1 television said.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on reports of the use of cluster bombs.

He said Halutz had instructed a senior officer to investigate the findings of an inquiry which looked at "queries" resulting from the military's operations against Hezbollah rocket launching sites in Lebanon. He declined to comment on the nature of the queries.
   
Cluster bombs burst into bomblets and spread out near the ground. The United Nations has called for a freeze on the use of those bombs in or near populated areas.
  
More than 20 people have been killed and 70 wounded, mostly civilians, by cluster bombs since the end of the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in mid-August.
   
A report by London-based Landmine Action said hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets still littered the Lebanese countryside. Many of them are reported to be US-made.
   
The US state department is investigating whether Israel violated US rules in its use of American-made rockets armed with cluster bombs in Lebanon.
   
Hezbollah, which fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, has been accused by human rights groups of using cluster munitions. It has denied the charge.

Source:
Agencies
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