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Israeli forces to end use of US-manufactured cluster bombs

Oct. 1, 2008 9:09 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 1, 2008 9:09 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - After disputes over the safety of American-made cluster bombs, Israel has declined to purchase the weapons, according to official military sources.

The army will continue to use it own M85 cluster bomb, manufactured by Israel Military Industries. Other nations have called for a ban on the use of the weapon, which has caused thousands of civilian deaths over the years.

Cluster bombs blanket an area as large as several city blocks with palm-sized bomblets, which often have short ribbons attached to ensure proper dispersal. American versions of the weapons fail to detonate at least 16% of the time, thus leaving unexploded bombs scattered throughout civilian areas.

Israeli cluster bombs contain a self-destruct mechanism which will ensure the immediate explosion of the device if impact fails to trigger the explosion.

Israel's refusal to purchase more of the faulty cluster bombs comes in the wake of negative media attention after unexploded bombs killed at least forty following the end fo the Israeli-Lebanon war.

Reports say that the army is also concerned that negative media could discourage soldiers from using the devices during military operations.

"We are cognizant of the civilian deaths in Lebanon and the lessons learned from the cluster-bomb issue received especially close attention," an Israeli official said.

Over 100 countries have banned the weapon as it is nearly impossible to identify targets in an urban environment, which leads to unintended deaths.

***Updated 3 October, 12:57 local time
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