Israeli cluster bomb kills Lebanese farm animals
A large explosion rocked the southern Lebanese town of Tair Harfa on Monday, five kilometers from the Israeli border, killing several farm animals, resident said. There were no human casualties.
A Lebanese security source said the blast was caused by an Israeli rocket fired into Lebanon during the 2006 war, that had not detonated.
A Reuters reporter said that members of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Army and around 50 members of a UN peacekeeping force were at the site of the Monday blast, but that he was prevented from approaching the area.
But Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said its soldiers in the area were still trying to determine the cause of the explosion.
Israel had dropped approximately four million cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon during the war on a country of less than four million residents. More than one million bombs were left unexploded, according to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report.
When cluster munitions are fired, over 100 sub-munitions are ejected from a single shell, but one-in-four do not explode immediately.
Israel fired the majority of the cluster munitions in the last two days of their war on Lebanon in anticipation of a ceasefire. Over six years later, unexploded bombs continue to kill civilians.
Children constitute a large percentage of the casualties as they often mistake the unexploded bombs for toys.
Most recently a sub-munition exploded and killed a Lebanese security official in early October as he was demining land near his village of Deir Sirian in Southern Lebanon.
According to a Human Rights Watch Report, continued demining efforts are hampered by the refusal of Israel’s army to provide data on the number of strikes, the type of weapons used, and their targets, despite repeated UN appeals to Israel.
So far, 111 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty that prohibits the use, transfer and stockpile of cluster bombs. Countries that have not signed on include Israel, the United States, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Brazil.
The treaty is presently ratified by 77 countries, making it officially illegal in those states.
However, because cluster munitions do not allow for specific targets, and because the small bomblets continue to kill civilians long after the bombs are dropped, the use of cluster bombs violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, that prohibits indiscriminate attacks that threaten civilians and non-military targets.
This treaty is ratified by 194 countries including Israel, making it internationally binding for all.
(Al-Akhbar, Reuters )