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Israel accused of immoral use of cluster bombs
South African Broadcasting Corporation/Reuters
August 31, 2006

Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief coordinator, has accused Israel of immoral use of deadly cluster bombs during Lebanon conflict. Egeland says nearly all the cluster bombs were used by Israel in the last three days of the conflict.

International law bans the use of such weapons in civilian areas. Unexploded bomblets from Israeli cluster shells made in the United States now litter parts of Lebanon after the conflict with Hizbollah guerrillas.

Up to 100 000 of the soda-can sized devices are spread over a large area of the south. Each one is powerful enough to rip the arm or leg off an adult or kill a child UN officials accuse Israel of dropping most of the weapons in the final three days of the war.

Shocking use of bombs
Egeland said: "What's shocking, and I would say to me completely immoral, is that 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution, when we really knew there would be an end to this". The use of cluster bombs in civilian areas is banned by international law. Israel denies using the weapons illegally and accused Hizbollah guerrillas of firing rockets into its territory from Lebanese towns and villages.

Meanwhile, Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, trying to calm Middle East violence, met Jordan's King Abdullah today before visiting Syria to seek its help in upholding a truce between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah. - Reuters

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