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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hezbullah used cluster bombs too

Human Rights Watch has accused Hezbullah of using cluster bombs against civilian areas during this summer's war with Israel. This is the first time Hezbullah's use of these weapons has been confirmed.
Hezbollah’s deployment of the Chinese-made Type-81 122mm rocket is also the first confirmed use of this particular model of cluster munition anywhere in the world. Human Rights Watch documented two Type-81 cluster strikes that took place on July 25 in the Galilee village of Mghar.

“We are disturbed to discover that not only Israel but also Hezbollah used cluster munitions in their recent conflict, at a time when many countries are turning away from this kind of weapon precisely because of its impact on civilians,” said Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's Arms Division. “Use of cluster munitions is never justified in civilian-populated areas because they are inaccurate and unreliable.”

While it is not known when and how Hezbollah obtained these foreign-made cluster munitions, and while Hezbollah used far fewer cluster munitions than Israel did in the recent war, the new findings raise serious concerns about the proliferation of these weapons to non-state armed groups, as well as states.
We all know that Israel has been accused of using cluster munitions this summer by Human Rights Watch. But there's a qualitative difference here: Israel was targeting areas from which rockets were being fired. Hezbullah was targeting civilians.

For the record, Hezbullah has not yet responded.

The Chinese angle is also very interesting in light of the close connections between China and Iran.


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