golan mine field 298.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A UN agency said Saturday that Israel laid mines in Lebanon during this summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah.
The report by the United Nations agency follows its investigation of a land mine explosion Friday that injured two European disposal experts and a Lebanese medic.
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The detonating object was an Israeli anti-personnel land mine placed in a mine field newly laid during the fighting in July and August, the UN Mine Action Coordination Center in south Lebanon said in a statement.
The center's statement was the first accusation that Israel had planted new mines during the latest war.
Lebanon's south is riddled with land mines, laid by retreating IDF soldiers who pulled out of the region in 2000. Hizbullah has also planted mines to ward off Israeli forces.
There was no immediate comment from Israel about Saturday's report.
UN experts say up to one million cluster bombs dropped by Israeli aircraft during the July-August war against Hizbullah remain unexploded in south Lebanon, where they continue to threaten civilians. At least 24 people have died in cluster bomb explosions since the war ended August 14.
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"This is the first evidence we have that the Israeli forces laid new mines in south Lebanon in 2006," the statement said.
Friday's blast seriously wounded ordnance disposal experts David Alderson of Britain and Damir Paradzik of Bosnia - both of whom lost a foot - and a Lebanese medic, as they tried to rescue a shepherd from an unmarked minefield in the village of Deir Mimas, three kilometers (two miles) northwest of the Israeli border.
Dalya Farran, a spokeswoman for the center, said the shepherd had led a herd of goats into an unmarked minefield when one of the animals detonated a land mine. Alderson, Paradzik and the medic heard the explosion, and on trying to help the shepherd, inadvertently detonated a second land mine.
The shepherd was unscathed.
The three wounded men worked for ArmorGroup, a London-based global risk management service that has been clearing unexploded ordnance and cluster bombs in south Lebanon since September for the center.
Lebanon has long called for Israel to hand over maps of the minefields.
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