"It's impossible for me to work out what the logic was," said David Shearer, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon. "To me, it just seems outrageous that it would happen as it did."Cluster bombs are area people killers, a shrapnel napalm.
Added Chris Clark, the program manager for the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center: "What we've seen are strikes on top of strikes on top of strikes on top of strikes. It's tantamount to shooting a dead body 20 times."
Hezbollah launched an average of about 100 rockets a day into Israel during much of the conflict, climbing to 240 near the end, with many of the rockets landing in populated civilian areas. Some U.N. officials speculated that the Israeli military's inability to stop the rocket firing led it to use weapons that sprayed across a wider area. The result was what U.N. officials euphemistically refer to as "contamination" -- a density of unexploded munitions higher than that left in Kosovo in 1999 and in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
In the 2 1/2 years after the Kosovo conflict, de-miners cleared fewer than 25,000 cluster bomblets, Clark said. In four weeks here, they have cleared more than 30,000 bomblets. Adding to the problem, the landscape remains littered with as many as 400,000 land mines left by Israel and its Lebanese allies during the occupation that ended in 2000.
So far, U.N. officials say, exploding cluster bomblets have killed 14 people and wounded 90 since the war ended.