Israel has been accused of placing a number of landmines in its invasion of southern Lebanon this summer, in addition to leaving behind one million unexploded cluster bomblets. The accusation came after three international cluster-bomb experts were maimed this
weekend by landmines.
The United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre announced that they have discovered an Israeli-laid mine field in the village of Deir Mimas, three kilometres northwest of the Israeli border. A UN representative stated, "This is the first evidence we have that the Israeli Forces laid new mines in south Lebanon in 2006."
The revelation came after a British and a Bosnian bomb removal expert each had a foot amputated this weekend when they stepped on a landmine in Deir Mimas. Further investigation revealed that the area was full of Israeli-made landmines.
While Israel said it is investigating the possibility, officials would not say whether Israel had indeed laid new mines in southern Lebanon this July.
During Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended in 2000, hundreds of thousands of land mines were laid throughout southern Lebanon by Israeli forces, many of which have never been removed.
In addition, Israeli officials have admitted to firing over one-million cluster bomblets during the month-long war with Lebanon this summer. Cluster bombs burst into bomblets when fired, and the bomblets can spread over a wide area, which increases the risk of civilian casualties.
The U.S. State Department announced that it has undertaken an investigation of Israel's use of U.S.-made cluster bombs during the war. U.S. bomb removal experts say they have removed 50,000 unexploded bombs in southern Lebanon since the war's end — many of them U.S.-made.