Israeli cluster bombs and mines have killed 30, maimed 205

July 10th, 2007 | Posted in Repression, War and Terror

    By Mohammed Zaatari, Daily Star.


SIDON: The number of people harmed while defusing bombs and extracting mines left by the Israelis following last summer’s war has reached 205, including a reported 30 deaths.

The large number of casualties comes as a result of the massive volumes of unexploded ordinance and cluster bombs left behind by Israel across Southern Lebanon in the days immediately preceding a UN-sponsored cease-fire which brought hostilities to a halt.

Dalya Farran, the spokeswoman for the UN Mine Action Coordination Center, said that technicians continue to work in various sites.

“There are about 922 sites being currently worked on in various Southern areas,” Farran said. “Some parts have already been covered. The 96 teams, which include about 1,300 experts and trainees, are doing all they can to finish up the mission as soon as possible,” she added.

The efforts are the result of a vast collaboration between companies and governmental organizations, as well as collaboration between the Lebanese Army, the UNIFIL and the New Zealand Military expertise team, added Farran.

She also noted that 122,500 mines and unexploded cluster bombs have been defused and extracted due to the collaboration of the organizations, but also described various problems faced by technicians, including the refusal of Israel to identify locations of the remnants of an estimated 1 million cluster bomblets dropped during the war.

The technicians will be done with their mission by the end of this year and will have removed any direct danger, said Farran, adding that “all residential and agricultural areas will soon be ready for free use.”

“Our priority lies in annihilating all possible dangers on the residents,” said Farran. “All other areas not frequently used will be handled in a secondary stage. Residential and agricultural areas will be the focus of the year 2008.”

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