UNITED NATIONS - UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Wednesday that thousands of civilians were at risk in south Lebanon from unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israeli forces in the last three days of the war against Hezbollah guerrillas.

He said the UN Mine Action Coordination Center had assessed "nearly 85 percent of bombed areas in south Lebanon" and identified "359 separate cluster bomb strike locations that are contaminated with as many 100,000 unexploded bomblets."

"What's shocking and I would say completely immoral is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution, when we knew there would be an end," he said.

"Every day, people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnances," the UN relief coordinator said.

He said the bombs may have been manufactured "in a number of places", including the United States.

"Those places who made those bombs should have a serious talk with Israel on the use of such bombs that are making our lives so miserable trying to help the Lebanese people.

"I hope the US will talk to the Israelis on that, because it is an outrage that we have 100,000 bombs among where children, women, shopkeepers and farmers are now going to tread," Egeland said, adding that he had not been able to get an explanation from the Israelis so far.

Egeland said he would launch an appeal for more money for mine clearance when he attends Thursday's conference in Stockholm on Lebanon's reconstruction.

Representatives of more than a dozen organisations are also expected to attend the one-day meeting, the first donors' conference to be held since the Lebanon ceasefire two weeks ago.

In Geneva, Chris Clark, head of the UN Mine Action Service in southern Lebanon, said there had been a total of 59 confirmed casualties, including 13 deaths, caused by the explosives since the end of hostilities on August 14.

The United Nations has asked Israel to provide a list of sites targeted during its month-long offensive in Lebanon, something which is crucial for the clean up.

Israel and other countries which have used the weapons, notably the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, often face criticism because the weapons can kill indiscriminately.

Unexploded bomblets, which are often scattered over a large area, can pose a deadly threat to civilians, especially children, for months and even years after a conflict.

The Israeli military is believed to have fired around 2,000-3,000 rounds of heavier ammunition a day -- not only cluster bombs but also artillery shells and more conventional bombs -- in the early stages of its campaign to dislodge the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah fighters.

08/30/2006 18:34 GMT

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