UN clears cluster bombs from areas of south Lebanon


    June 2008: AFP.


    Photo: View from car window in South Lebanon after 2006 Israeli bombing.

Tyre, Lebanon (AFP): Almost half of the areas in southern Lebanon contaminated with cluster bombs dropped by Israel in 2006 have been cleared, a UN official said on Wednesday.

“Forty three percent of the areas affected by the cluster bombs dropped during the July 2006 war have been cleared”, UN Mine Action Coordination Centre for South Lebanon spokeswoman Dalya Farran said.

“Efforts are currently underway to clean 49 percent of the contaminated areas,” she told AFP, adding that work has yet to begin in eight percent of the affected areas.

She said 970 contaminated sites had been found in an area spanning 39 million square meters (420 million square feet).

Since the war’s end in August 2006, cluster bombs have caused “256 civilian casualties between deaths and injuries,” according to Farran.

She added that there have also been 51 casualties from the Lebanese army and international forces in the area.

Farran said Israel had to make known “the number of bombs that were dropped as well as their locations.”

“Israel not yet responded to this repeated request from the United Nations so far,” Farran said.

The United Nations has repeatedly asked Israel to provide a map of the locations of cluster bombs and mines in southern Lebanon in order to facilitate clearing efforts.

The United Nations says Israel dropped about one million bombs on Lebanon between July 12 and August 14, 2006, and that 40 percent of them did not explode when they hit the ground. Most of them are located in towns and fields in southern Lebanon.

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