cluster bomb 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
An Israeli made cluster bomblet, installed with a self-destruct mechanism, was not used by the IDF during the war in Lebanon even though they would have drastically reduced the threat to civilian populations in the target areas. Instead, Israel used cluster bomblets manufactured in the United States which did not have a self-destruct mechanism.
Lebanon claims 24 civilians were killed and 76 injured by cluster bombs since the end of the war, with the shells exploding mostly in fields and orchards.
Defense officials explained that the IDF did not use or buy cluster bomblets manufactured by Israel Military Industries (IMI), since Israel bought its bomblets in the United States with the $3 billion it receives annually from the US government in military aid.
IMI manufactures a low dud-rate cluster bomblet which carries a self-destruct fuse. Officials said that the 60 million IMI bomblets have been sold to customers around the world including the US and countries in Europe.
"The self-destruct mechanism takes care of one of the main problems with cluster bombs," said one IMI official. "Some of the bomblets do not explode when they hit the ground and remain lethal to the local civilian population the self-destruct fuse eliminates that threat."
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz has appointed Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen, commander of the IDF's Military Colleges, to investigate the military's use of cluster bombs during the war against Hizbullah. IDF regulations permit the use of cluster bombs - capable of scattering 200 to 600 bomblets over an area the size of a football field - only in open and unpopulated areas. An IDF probe recently revealed however that the Artillery Corps fired the deadly bomb into populated areas during the last days of the war.