Thursday, May 29, 2008

Factfile: Cluster bombs

A cluster bomb, containing more than 600 bomblets, that was dropped
by an Israeli aircraft during the 2006 Lebanon war [ courtesy: File: AP]
  • Cluster bombs are containers holding multiple bomblets or submunitions.
  • They are fired into the air or dropped and break in mid-air. They have the potential to spread hundreds of bomblets over large areas - covering areas as large as several football fields.
  • Many of the munitions fail to work properly on release and remain a threat to people long after they are fired.
  • About 60 per cent of the people injured by cluster bombs are not involved in conflict activities.
  • A third of recorded cluster munitions casualties are children.
  • At least 14 countries have used cluster bombs, including France, the Netherlands, Russia, the UK, the US and Saudi Arabia.
  • Billions of cluster bombs are held by about 76 nations. Thirty-four states have produced the weapon.
  • Cluster bombs were first used by German and Soviet Union forces in the second world war.
  • The US used significant numbers of the munitions in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam during the 1970s.
  • More recently, Russia has used the weapon in Chechnya and the Sudanese government employed them during their civil war. Israel used them, and (Hezbollah was accused of using them - malafide statement), during the Lebanon war in 2006.
  • The weapon caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system.

* editors comment

Source: Cluster Munitions Coalition

courtesy al jazeera

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