Belgian de-miner dies in Lebanon

A048104111.jpgA UN peacekeeper in Lebanon has been killed in an explosion while clearing munitions left over from the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.The sapper belonged to the 370-strong Belgian contingent in the peacekeeping force known as Unifil.

The incident happened at the village of Aitaroun, near the Israel border.

More than 30 people, mostly civilians, have died in explosions of leftover Israeli cluster bombs and landmines since the end of the 2006 war.

The UN says Israel dropped millions of cluster bombs on Lebanon in the last days of the fighting, and about 40% of their bomblets failed to explode on impact.

The UN – supported by anti-mine groups – called Israel’s cluster bombing “shocking and immoral”, as most were used when a resolution was clearly imminent.

But Israel says it used cluster bombs out of military necessity and in accordance with international law.

A spokeswoman for the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre said 14 de-mining experts had died in similar explosions since 2006. They belonged to the Lebanese army, Unifil and private mine action teams.

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