Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

The Israeli army is equipping itself with self-destruct cluster bombs in order to lower the number of civilian victims of this type of weapon, used in the 2006 war in Lebanon, military radio said.

The army has reduced its purchases of US made cluster bombs, instead buying Israel-made M-85 cluster bombs, which contain a mechanism to destroy themselves if they fail to explode immediately on impact, according to the report.

Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area from a single container.

The United Nations estimates that a million cluster bombs were dropped on Lebanon by Israel between July 12 and August 14 in 2006 in the conflict with Hezbollah.

About 40 percent of these did not explode on impact and are spread among villages and orchards in the south of Lebanon.

According to a UN report in June, at least 38 people have been killed and 217 wounded by bomblets exploding since the end of the fighting.

The Israeli government's Winograd Commission of enquiry into the mistakes of the Lebanon war recommended the army use fewer cluster bombs in future to reduce civilian injuries.

In May, delegates from 111 countries agreed a landmark treaty in in Dublin to ban the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions by its signatories.

However, the agreement lacked the backing of major producers and stockpilers including Israel, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.


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