Millions of Unexploded Bombs Litter Southern Beirut

ByABC News
September 26, 2006, 11:35 AM

Sept. 26, 2006 — -- The people of southern Lebanon call it "the second war."

The 34-day conflict between Israel and Hezbollah left behind a weapon that is still proving deadly, more than a month after the cease-fire.

"These are the clusters that are in this town alone."

Jihad Samhat was pointing to seven red dots on a map that was spread out on the hood of his 4x4.

The red dots marked the areas the United Nations believes were hit with cluster bombs.

"One red dot is hundreds, maybe thousands, of bomblets," Samhat said. "It all depends on the amount of canisters they have dropped on that area."

Samhat was a U.S. Army private from California.

Now he works for the United Nations, searching the small towns and villages of southern Lebanon for unexploded cluster bombs.

He says he never has to look too far.

Cluster bombs were fired by Israel during the 34-day war. The weapons were made and supplied by the United States.

Forty percent of these bombs fail to go off on impact, and explode later. The slightest touch can trigger a deadly explosion.

U.N. officials estimate there could be more than a million of these bombs throughout southern Lebanon.

Samhat pointed to the side of the road where seven small canisters, about the size of soda cans, rested in the dirt.

They may be small, but they are built to pierce armor.

Every day, injuries or deaths occur as a result of the bombs.

Twenty-one people have been killed since the cease-fire on Aug. 14.

It has become especially dangerous now that the people of southern Lebanon have started to return to towns and villages.

Rebuilding homes and working in the fields can be deadly, though.

"There are a lot we can't see, in the rubble," Samhat said. "In the vegetations, in the leaves, and hanging on trees."

The Turkiyas lost their 24-year-old son last week. He was picking fruit from an orchard when he stepped on a bomb.

"My son, Ali, like all of us, was exposed to danger during the war," Khalil Turkiya said. "He survived the war, but he was killed by a cluster bomb."