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Qaddafi Forces Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas

MISURATA, Libya — Military forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, who have surrounded this city and vowed to crush its anti-Qaddafi rebellion, have been firing into residential neighborhoods with heavy weapons, including cluster bombs that have been banned by much of the world and ground-to-ground rockets, according to the accounts of witnesses and survivors and physical evidence on the ground.
Such “indiscriminate” weapons, which strike large areas with a dense succession of high-explosive munitions, by their nature cannot be fired precisely, and when fired into populated areas place civilians at grave risk.

The use of such weapons could also add urgency to the NATO campaign, which has as its mandate protecting civilians from the Qaddafi regime’s harm. And it could place pressure on the United States, which pulled back air power from the war when it ceded control of the campaign to NATO earlier this month.

When asked about the munitions at a news conference in Berlin, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she was “not aware” of the specific use of cluster munitions in Misurata, but said, “I’m not surprised by anything that Colonel Qadaffi and his forces do.”


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