April 15th, 2011
07:50 PM ET

Rights group: Gadhafi forces firing cluster munitions

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have fired cluster munitions into residential areas in the besieged western city of Misrata, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

A spokesman for the Libyan government denied the charge.

The organization said in a statement that it had seen three cluster munitions explode over the el-Shawahda neighborhood of Misrata on Thursday night. Researchers inspected debris from a cluster submunition and interviewed witnesses to two other apparent cluster munitions strikes, the statement said.

HRW inspected the submunition, which it said had been discovered by a New York Times reporter, and determined that it was a Spanish-produced MAT-120 120mm mortar projectile, which opens in the air and releases 21 submunitions across a wide area.

The submunitions explode on contact, disintegrating into molten metal that can strike people and penetrate armored vehicles, it said.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. arthur

    Cluster munitions are hellish, but if there are to be "boots on the ground" in Libya to counter those munitions (as General Marks suggested), then let those "boots" be NATO and not American. Our military can provide the transportation, but that should be it, period! Please CNN, do not start championing our troops going into Libya, when Libya's acute national security effect on our country is not definite. Also, what was the real purpose of replaying that month-old interview of the New York Times journalists???

    April 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  2. Peter H

    Those cluster bombs Gadhafi is using, the ones we are calling horrific, inhumane, shameful... Yeah, they are manufactured in the Boston. Sort of hard to stake out a moral highground in this world when you're the leading arms supplier to the third world. C

    April 15, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  3. Yousef

    Why are cluster bombs suddenly such an outrage and illegal weapon when they were barely mentioned when used on beirut?? Why the double standards Anderson Cooper? Why don't we keep everyone honest? Were cluster bombs used on tanks in beirut? You sound like Fox News

    April 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  4. William Miller

    This is what happens when You vow to protect the people from a dictator without dealing with the dictator. We are now involved in an action that neither protects the people or removes the source of the problem. I'm afraid it is too late to effect change in Libya. We are seen as killing Libyans by the Ghadhafi supporters and as allowing Libyans to be killed by the opposition. What's worse we are seen as weak by the dictator. So we have committed The Libyans to a protracted civil war, even if we remove Ghadhafi from power it will be too late to change the image of America in the eyes of the Libyan people. Ghadhafi or not.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm |