Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said Monday that he was not surprised the IDF used cluster bombs during the war in Lebanon but was "disappointed" that they were not used according to the army's strict regulations.
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Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen, commander of the IDF's Military Colleges, was appointed by Halutz to investigate the use of cluster bombs during the war against Hizbullah.
IDF regulations permit the use of cluster bombs - dropped to destroy airfields, tanks and soldiers, and capable of scattering 200 to 600 mini-explosives over an area the size of a football field - only in open unpopulated areas. An IDF probe recently revealed, however, that the Artillery Corps fired the bombs into populated areas during the final days of the war.
"There are rules and we need to see that we met all of the required conditions," Halutz said. "The question was not whether we were allowed to use the weapon, but whether we used the weapon according to the set requirements. The use of the weapons was not surprising. It was disappointing."
Military sources said Halutz authorized the use of cluster bombs during the war, but only in unpopulated areas and after receiving permission from Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam, OC Northern Command during the month-long war. The IDF probe reportedly discovered that brigade and even battalion commanders approved their units' use of the weapon without seeking Adam's approval.