Gaddafi uses cluster munitions against rebels
Troops loyal to Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi use cluster munitions against rebels, human rights groups said, dpa reported
According to Human Rights Watch, at least three grenades with cluster munitions exploded above the contested city of Misurata. Experts identified the bombs, which were discovered by a New York Times journalist to be cluster munitions produced in Spain, the activists said late Friday in New York.
Misurata has been pounded by government forces after rebels seeking Gaddafi's ouster repeatedly captured and lost the city.
Based on identifying markings on found at the scene of bombings on Thursday and Friday, the weapons were described as 120-millimeter rounds, each emitting 21 submunitions. The bombs were produced in 2007 by Spanish manufacturer Instalaza SA, the Times said.
Cluster bombs, which eject smaller bomblets that are highly dangerous to civilians, have been outlawed by more than 100 countries in the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which took effect in 2010.
Libya is not a signatory to the convention, but Spain signed the cluster-bomb ban in 2008.
The United States, which has not signed the ban, has used cluster bombs in recent years against Taliban forces on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she had not been informed about the use of cluster bombs, but was "not surprised at anything that Colonel Gaddafi and his forces do."
"That is worrying information and it's one of the reasons why the fight in Misurata is so difficult, because it's at close quarters, it's in amongst urban areas, and it poses a lot of challenges to both NATO and to the opposition," Clinton said after a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Berlin, according to the US State Department.