Hezbollah’s Arsenal

Table: Main types of rockets fired by Hezbollah into Israel during 2006 conflict, according to data provided by Israeli authorities62



Type of fragmentation

Explosive wt.

Locations struck

Standard 122mm such as the 9M22, accounting for about 75% of rockets landing in Israel

20 km

2 layers of serrated steel, diamond-shaped fragmentation; or

6mm steel spheres;


Towns and villages within 20 km from the border, especially Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, Ma’a lot-Tarshiha, Safed, Akko and Karmiel

122mm enhanced-range rocket


About 4,100 6mm steel spheres or cluster submunitions (39 submunitions containing 3mm steel spheres)


Two struck Haifa, including one on July 13; others landed in villages, cities and elsewhere in the Galilee region


(“Uragan”-type; Hezbollah calls them Raad-2 and Raad-3)


Each rocket loaded with about 50 kg of 6mm steel spheres; these spheres caused most of the casualties inflicted by these rockets

18 kg

The police documented 39 220mm rocket strikes in Haifa, accounting for nearly half the total they were able to confirm


Hezbollah calls them Falaq-1


High-explosive warhead with no special fragmentation


Three landed in Nahariya one each in Kiryat Shmona, Shtula and Kfar Giladi, according to the National Police


Fajr-3 type


No special fragmentation but because of high-explosive warhead, well-suited for targeting infrastructure

45 kg

Some struck in HaKrayot (Haifa’s northern suburbs); a few in Karmiel


Hezbollah calls them Khyber-1


Contains heavy fragmentation, blocks 1.5cm x 2cm x 1cm


Struck mostly near Afula and points south, including in the northern West Bank; three landed in and around Haifa

Types and Accuracy of Rockets Used

Israeli officials stated that a total of 3,917 Hezbollah rockets landed in Israel during the 34-day conflict.63 Hezbollah claimed the number was closer to 8,000 (see below).

Of the 3,917 rockets that Israeli officials say landed in Israel, 23 percent landed within “built-up areas,” according to the police.64 The report that presents this figure does not define “built-up areas” or explain whether it includes industrial or other sites that may have been valid military targets, such as ammunition plants. Nowhere, to our knowledge, have Israeli officials disclosed how many rockets struck military zones or dual-use objects such as bridges or highways leading to the combat zone that may have lawfully been attacked.

All rockets fired by Hezbollah into Israel during the 2006 conflict were unguided surface-to-surface artillery rockets, as far as we are aware. Rockets are weapons that are propelled but unlike missiles are unguided. Because Hezbollah’s rockets were incapable of being accurately aimed, they were most able to inflict serious damage when fired in large quantities over a period of time.

Rockets are identified by the diameter of their base, which is given in millimeters. They achieve their destructive purpose through a combination of explosive force and fragmentation. The detonation of the explosive creates shock waves of pressure, which represent a “blast effect.” A “fragmentation effect” is achieved by spewing projectiles in every direction. Although not all projectiles are literally “fragments,” the most common projectiles employed by Hezbollah rockets are: razor-sharp jagged pieces that separate from scored steel; small steel spheres or blocks; and submunitions, which are small weapons contained in larger weapons called cluster munitions. Both blast and fragmentation effects cause serious damage to humans.

During the 2006 conflict, Hezbollah fired into Israel at least six types of ground-launched rockets, according to Israeli officials. 65 The main differences among them were the diameter, which influences the rocket’s range and payload amount, and the type of payload they contained (shrapnel fragments, steel spheres, or submunitions).

The 122mm-diameter rocket was the most common. With a range of 20 kilometers and carrying about six kilograms of explosive material, its payload consisted of two layers of scored steel fragmentation, 6mm steel spheres, or 39 submunitions, all designed primarily to kill or injure people. The most common type of warhead on these rockets is designed to spray out 3,150 fragments, which can kill or injure for a radius of 28 meters.66

The 122mm rockets fired by Hezbollah are frequently and informally referred to as “Katyushas.” The term originally was used by Soviet soldiers during World War II to refer to 82mm and 132mm rockets used by USSR forces. Since then it has become a colloquial term for any unguided rockets typically fired from multiple-barrel launchers off of flat-bed trucks.67 Hezbollah launched its rockets from mobile launchers.68

In addition to the standard 122mm rockets, Hezbollah fired enhanced-range 122mm Chinese-made rockets, 220mm Uragan rockets, and a smaller number of 240mm and 302mm rockets. Hezbollah also fired a small number of mortar rounds at towns near the border, especially Kiryat Shmona.

The enhanced-range “Grad” rocket increases the range of the standard 122mm rocket to 30 kilometers and is loaded with about 4,100 steel spheres that spray in every direction as far as 200 meters from the point of impact, depending on the type of explosive and the size of the warhead.69 These spheres injure or kill people in their path and can also damage or penetrate “hard targets.” The 220mm rocket has more than double that range and at least ten times the number of steel spheres.

The 240mm Falaq-1 and Fajr-3 type rockets, with ranges of 10.5 kilometers and 43 kilometers respectively, have high-explosive warheads but no special fragmentation. Finally, the 302mm rocket has the longest range, 90 kilometers. The Israel National Police said these contained small metal blocks that are larger than steel spheres but serve the same purpose.70

Israeli National Police officials told us in October that they had examined 1,666 rocket and mortar strikes.71 The police explained that this number in no way cast doubt on the official count of 3,917 strikes, which is reportedly based on radar tracking.72 The police number is lower because it excludes the rocket landing sites that the police did not themselves examine, including those in hard-to-reach areas and those handled by non-police teams, such as IDF bomb disposal units. The latter include some of the rockets that landed in military zones. The National Police broke down the 1,666 rocket and mortar strikes it had examined as of late June 2007 as follows:

  • 1,111 122mm rockets
  • 246 122mm rockets with enhanced range
  • 86 220mm rockets (“Uragan”)
  • Six 240mm rockets (“Falaq-1”)
  • Six 240mm rockets (probably “Fajr-3”)
  • 31 302mm rockets
  • 34 unidentified rockets (for example, Israel Police spotted some rockets hitting the Sea of Galilee or the Mediterranean Sea but could not identify them)
  • 146 others, including mortar shells that landed near the border, and at least 118 cluster munition rockets carrying submunitions.73

Chief Superintendent Michael Cardash, deputy head of the Bomb Disposal Division of the Israel Police, told us he believes this breakdown of the 1,666 rocket landings that the police analyzed is broadly reflective of the total distribution of the types of rockets fired on Israel.74

Rockets with scored-steel fragmentation or steel spheres are primarily anti-personnel weapons. In those instances when Hezbollah may have been targeting military objectives with anti-personnel ordnance, the use of inaccurate rockets to deliver the ordnance created a high danger to civilians in the vicinity.

This was the first conflict in which Hezbollah was known to have used rockets loaded with steel spheres. The 220mm rockets, each packed with some 40,000-80,000 steel spheres, according to the Israel Police,75 were particularly deadly. They had a reported dud rate approaching zero, and the steel spheres they shot out with tremendous force easily pierced human flesh, not to mention steel and concrete. These rockets killed people in situations where the same rocket with a conventional payload would have caused fewer casualties. They would have been militarily effective against enemy soldiers moving across a wide field, not a common target in this conflict. Among civilians, the outcome is similar, such as when a steel-sphere loaded rocket crashed into the soft roof of a rail yard in Haifa on July 16, and killed eight workers.

Dr. Yoram Kluger, a surgeon and expert on steel-sphere injuries who worked at Rambam hospital in Haifa during the war, observed:

Steel spheres present a very different pattern of injury from other types of ammunition. Because of their spherical shape, they actually cause worse injuries than other types of shrapnel and ammunition. If a person is standing next to the explosion, his body will be saturated heavily. We call this a “multi-dimensional injury pattern,” since you have the impact of the penetration, the burns, and the blast effects all at the same time, on the same person, to his head, vascular system, and orthopedic system.

The spheres are propelled by explosives in the rocket. The longer the distance they travel, the less injury they cause. The survivors are either heavily or lightly injured, in correlation to their distance from the impact point.

Dr. Kluger noted that in addition to distance, other factors determined when the spheres caused fatal injuries, such as whether the victims were in a closed or an open space. “In closed space, the injury pattern is much more devastating; part of the blast effect disappears immediately in open spaces,” Kluger said. He added:

Using spheres in weapons is not new. They were first introduced in weapons in 1888. The US used them in Vietnam. Their use shows the intention to increase injury potential; they have no other purpose, such as increasing fear or causing buildings to collapse. 76

Hezbollah could not aim its unguided artillery rockets with enough accuracy to target a particular building or artillery mount, but it could aim at a town or even a neighborhood with some measure of reliability.

At its maximum range of some 20 kilometers, Hezbollah’s most commonly used rocket (9M22), with a basic high explosive/fragmentation (M-21-OF) warhead, is only accurate within a rectangle of 336 meters by 160 meters, meaning it could land anywhere within a rectangle of this size containing its intended target.77 Environmental factors, particularly wind, and usage factors, such as equipment condition, crew experience, care in preparing fire, and shifts in the launcher’s location between launches, also affect targeting accuracy. While unnamed US and Israeli officials cited in various media reports claim that Hezbollah had some training from Iran in how to use these weapons,78 it is not known whether they had the capability to take environmental factors into consideration when targeting.

Under ideal conditions, Hezbollah could fire a round of multiple rockets, analyze its accuracy in hitting the target, and then readjust its launch parameters for the next multiple-launch round to improve its accuracy over time. Hezbollah might have had some sense of which areas it hit through global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, satellite imagery, media reports, informants, or other intelligence, or in the case of close border towns, through direct surveillance. However, with limited intelligence and constant vulnerability to Israeli counter-attacks, it likely was not able to use fully this repeat-fire technique to improve the accuracy of its targeting. In addition, Israeli military authorities said Hezbollah did not always fire multiple launches, but sometimes attacked one shot at a time, which would have further decreased the likelihood of hitting any particular target.79

Hezbollah Intelligence

Demonstrating an intent to fire at a specific objective requires both weapons that are capable of being aimed at the proposed target and the possession of actionable intelligence on the target’s location.

Hezbollah seems to have possessed such intelligence on targets in Israel—both military objectives and civilian objects—from a variety of sources, although we do not know precisely its quality or quantity. They likely culled it from what they could see across the border, from publicly available information such as media reports, maps, GPS, Google Earth and other sources of satellite mapping, and, it is believed, from informants on the ground inside Israel.80 Hezbollah may have developed the ability to eavesdrop and intercept messages on beepers, according to Israeli press reports.81 It also reportedly benefited from intelligence shared by Iran and Syria,82 and sent at least two unmanned drones over Israeli towns in the past, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly.83

During the 2006 conflict, the IDF said it found during its incursion into Lebanon “range cards” that Hezbollah prepared in December 2005, containing the precise coordinates of various locations within Israel and the formulas for aiming mortar shells and 122mm rockets toward them from a single location in southern Lebanon.For each site in Israel listed, the cards provided a western azimuth, range, sighting angle, and firing angle. Most of these are the names of towns, villages, kibbutzim and moshavs (cooperative villages), including “Adamit,” “Kfar Vradim,” “central Ma’alot, “southern Ma’alot,” and “northern Ma’alot.” One is given as “Cultural Center, northern Nahariya.”

According to an analysis by an IDF-affiliated research center, 56 of the 91 locations whose coordinates appeared on the cards were civilian objects and 27 were IDF posts and bases.84

It is not possible for Human Rights Watch to authenticate these 2005 range cards, which were limited to a single firing point, or to correlate them with specific rocket attacks during the 2006 conflict. We do know, however, that Hezbollah fired rockets at many of the civilian settlements whose coordinates figure on the range cards and that many of these settlements were among those that Hezbollah claimed to have attacked in its wartime press communiqués.

Suppliers of Hezbollah’s Weapons

Human Rights Watch lacks the means to positively and independently identify the manufacturers of the rockets that Hezbollah fired into Israel in July-August 2006, nor the means by which Hezbollah procured them. The Israeli and US governments have since the 1980s accused Iran and Syria of supplying Hezbollah with weapons.85 Iran and Syria have never acknowledged this,86 although Hezbollah officials have done so, according to media reports. For example, in February 2007, Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah reportedly said that it was common knowledge that Iran had helped the party with money, weapons and training, and that this aid came via Syria.87

U.N. Security Council resolution 1559 (2004) calls for the “disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,”a call that resolution 1701 (2006) reiterates. Both prior to and since the 2006 conflict, the U.N. Secretary-Generals have voiced alarm at the flow of arms reaching militias in violation of Security Council resolutions.

The U.N. Secretary General’s periodic reports on implementation of resolutions 1559 and 1701 have expressed concern about reports of arms flowing into Lebanon across the Syrian border. However, these reports generally refrained from identifying the party sending the weapons and the recipients of the weapons from among the various Lebanese and Palestinian militias operating in Lebanon. However, in his third periodic report on resolution 1559, then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan cited a specific delivery of “Katyusha”rockets and other arms across the Syrian border and to Hezbollah:

…I was informed in February 2006 of an incident, in which arms destined for Hizbollah had been transferred from the Syrian Arab Republic into Lebanon. Twelve trucks carrying ammunitions and weapons of various kinds, including Katyusha rockets, crossed the border from the Syrian Arab Republic. Discovered a few days later at a checkpoint inside Lebanon, the trucks were allowed to continue their journey towards their destination in south Lebanon. A statement released by the Lebanese Armed Forces following the incident on 6 February 2006 indicated that transportation and storage of ammunition belonging to the “resistance”, once inside Lebanon, were subject to the ministerial policy statement of the current Lebanese Government, which considered the “resistance” to be legitimate. As the Government of Lebanon has confirmed, the Lebanese Armed Forces has thus not been authorized to prevent further movement of the ammunitions, which had been a common practice for more than 15 years. Hizbollah publicly confirmed that the arms were destined for the group. The Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese Army Command have informed my Special Envoy that further cases of arms transfers would be subject to the direct decision of Prime Minister Seniora and that no further transfers of ammunitions and weapons have occurred since this incident.88

Later in 2006, in the first post-war report on compliance with Resolution 1559, Secretary-General Annan noted:

Since the cessation of hostilities came into effect in Lebanon on 14 August 2006, renewed reports of intercepted arms shipments have been brought to my attention. I continue to believe that the imposition of an arms embargo…is a necessary measure given the history of arms traffic bound for Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias….I also emphasized the need for the Syrian Arab Republic, in particular, to help enforce the provisions of paragraphs 14 and 15 of resolution 1701 (2006), given that it shares the sole land border with Lebanon that is generally open to traffic.89

Terje Roed-Larsen, the U.N. Special Envoy for the Middle East, told the Security Council and the press on October 30, 2006 that Lebanese officials had reported to him regularly that arms were being smuggled into Lebanon from Syria.90 Syrian officials denied this.91

But the Secretary-General’s next report on Resolution 1559, issued on May 7, 2007, charged that illegal arms were continuing to enter Lebanon and urged Syria and Iran in particular to contribute to enforcement of the arms embargo:

I have received information from Israel on arms trafficking. This information has been detailed and substantial....I have also received reports from other Member States detailing that illegal transfers of arms do occur. According to such reports, some weapons produced outside the region arrive via third countries and are brought clandestinely into Lebanon through the Syrian-Lebanese border. Such transfers are alleged to be taking place on a regular basis ....

The enforcement of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 1701 (2006) and the cooperation of parties outside Lebanon, notably the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran, remain a key ingredient in ensuring that such a political process can proceed and is not undermined by parties and groups extending their political power through the acquisition of arms.”92

In June 2007 Roed-Larsen presented the Security Council with a report prepared by the Lebanese Army charging extensive smuggling of weapons from Syria that were reaching Islamist militant groups in Lebanon. Roed-Larsen did not publicly name these groups, but his presentation took place at the time of clashes between Lebanese armed forces and the Palestinian armed faction Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. On June 11, the Security Council issued a statement reiterating its “deep concern at mounting information by Israel and other States of illegal movements of arms into Lebanon, and in particular across the Lebanese-Syrian border.”93 Syria denied the allegation.94

Later that month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in the fourth report on implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), stated, “I am disturbed by the persistent reports pointing to breaches of the arms embargo along the Syrian-Lebanese border.” The report, issued on June 28, does not name the parties delivering or receiving the smuggled arms. However, it does mention an incident of arms interception similar to the above-mentioned one that occurred in February 2006–again noting the Lebanese government’s position that they had intercepted these arms as they were being transported within Lebanon rather than coming from another country:

The Government of Lebanon provided us with information on the recent seizure of a truckload of Grad rockets, mortars and ammunition for automatic rifles and machine guns. The truckload, which belonged to Hizbullah, was seized on 5 June 2007 at a checkpoint of the Lebanese Armed Forces at Douriss near Baalbek in east Lebanon’s Bekaa valley. According to the Government of Lebanon, the arms were being moved within the country.95

The press reported a similar seizure of Hezbollah weapons four months earlier. On February 8, 2007, according to reports, the Lebanese army seized an arms shipment for Hezbollah in a truck near Beirut. In a statement Hezbollah acknowledged that the matériel was meant for its fighters and demanded the return of the intercepted shipment. According to Lebanese security sources quoted by the press, the weapons included 122mm Grad rockets of the type that Hezbollah had fired into Israel during the 2006 war. Hezbollah said that the truck was on its way from Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, which borders Syria, and that Lebanese customs officials had seized it. However, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said on Lebanon’s LBC television station that the shipment originated from within Lebanon, and that “there are no arms entering from Syria.” He said that the government would give the confiscated weapons to units of the Lebanese army stationed in the south of the country.96

In the spring of 2007, Israel held a series of intelligence briefings to persuade the UN that weapons for Hezbollah were being smuggled from Syria into Lebanon in large quantities. Without endorsing or rejecting Israel’s claims, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended dispatching a mission to assess security on the Lebanese-Syrian border,97 a proposal that the Security Council endorsed. 98 The “Independent Border Assessment Team” conducted an investigation and concluded, without naming culprits, “the present state of border security was insufficient to prevent smuggling, in particular the smuggling of arms, to any significant extent. The assessment was further strengthened by the fact that not a single on-border or near-border seizure of smuggled arms was documented to the Team.”99

Throughout the 1980s there were reports that Iran had been providing Hezbollah with BM-21 rocket launchers.100 Israel charged that most of the rockets fired into Israel during the July 1993 conflict (named “Operation Accountability” by Israel), were from single-round launchers “manufactured in China and North Korea as well as in Iran.”101

Unnamed Israeli government officials and international aerospace industry officials cited by the press suggest that the Russian and Chinese governments sold rockets and other arms to Iran and Syria, who then passed them to Hezbollah.102 Russia and China are the primary manufacturers of the types of 122mm rockets103 that Hezbollah used, although Iran produces similar models.104 Iran is the probable manufacturer of the 240mm Fajr-3 type rockets that Hezbollah fired into Israel, Israel police told us.105

Unnamed US officials, cited by the press, claim that rockets are not the only military assistance Iran has given to Hezbollah. They argue that Iran has funneled as much as $100 million a year in military assistance to Hezbollah, including large arms shipments and direct training from members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.106

According to US and Israeli officials, Iranian cargo jets typically delivered arms to Syria, from which they were then transported overland across the porous border with Lebanon.107 Syria could have been more than just a transport point for Iranian weapons, according to unnamed Israeli officials cited by the press. They say the 220mm Uragan rockets used by Hezbollah were a type that Russia manufactures and has exported to Syria.108 These 220mm rockets are the main type of weapon that Hezbollah fired at the city of Haifa during the 2006 conflict.109 Longer-range 302mm rockets, allegedly manufactured by Syria,110 reached Tirat Carmel south of Haifa, Afula, and points in the northern West Bank.

The Type-81 cluster munition rockets that Hezbollah fired into Israel are manufactured by China, the Israeli police say. It is not known how it obtained them.111 Frederic Gras, a technical field manager for the non-governmental Mines Advisory Group told us that he examined cluster munitions in Lebanon that he identified as being Chinese-made.112 Presumably, these cluster munitions were part of Hezbollah’s arsenal.

According to Israeli government officials, Iran and Syria continued to try to re-supply Hezbollah during the 2006 conflict but the Israeli air and sea blockade largely prevented this.113

Hezbollah’s Use of Cluster Munitions

In addition to using rockets with steel spheres, Hezbollah launched cluster munitions into populated areas of Israel. These weapons are notorious for causing civilian harm, and when used in populated areas should be presumed indiscriminate and in violation of international humanitarian law. The international community is in the process of drafting a convention that would outlaw the use of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.

Hezbollah’s deployment of the Chinese-made Type-81 122mm rocket was the first confirmed use anywhere of this particular model of cluster munition. Its use raises serious concerns about the increased proliferation of cluster munitions, both of new weapons and to new non-state actors. Human Rights Watch documented three civilian casualties and property damage from one such attack in the Galilee village of Mghar (discussed below.)114 According to Israeli officials, Hezbollah launched at least 118 cluster rockets into northern Israel during the 2006 war.115

However, Hezbollah MP Hassan Hoballah denied the charge, without responding directly to the evidence presented by Human Rights Watch. He told telling the BBC, "We did not use these bombs. We don't have them." He added: "We reject the use of these bombs anywhere in the world because they hurt civilians, especially when dropped on residential areas. Our stance is consistent. It can never change."116

Cluster munitions are large weapons that contain dozens and often hundreds of small submunitions. Either air-dropped or ground-launched, cluster munitions open up in the air and release their submunitions over a wide area. The submunitions from air-dropped cluster munitions are called bomblets, and those from ground-delivered cluster munitions are called grenades. The submunitions often have both anti-personnel and anti-armor effects. With very few exceptions, both cluster munitions and submunitions are unguided weapons. All of Hezbollah’s submunitions were unguided.

The military values cluster munitions because of their area effect; they can destroy broad, relatively soft targets, like airfields and surface-to-air missile sites. They can also be effective against targets that move or do not have precise locations, like people and vehicles. However, parties to a conflict must weigh the military advantages of cluster munitions against their documented harm to civilians both during and after strikes.

The humanitarian effects of a cluster munition attack are often more serious than those of other types of weapons. Because of the submunitions’ wide dispersal, even if a cluster munition hits its target, the submunitions may kill or injure civilians within the footprint during strikes. If cluster munitions are used in an area where combatants and civilians commingle, civilian casualties are almost assured.

Cluster munitions also have problematic after-effects because many of the submunitions do not explode on impact as intended. While all weapons have a failure rate, cluster munitions are more dangerous because they release large numbers of submunitions and because certain design characteristics, based on cost and size considerations, increase the likelihood of submunitions’ failure. Manufacturers and militaries have typically indicated failure rates for submunitions under test conditions ranging between 2 and 20 percent.117 Actual failure rates in combat conditions have been higher.118 As a result, every cluster munition strike leaves some unexploded ordnance. The dud, or initial failure, rate, that is, the percentage that does not explode upon immediate contact with the ground, not only reduces cluster munitions’ military effectiveness but also puts civilians at great risk. Unexploded bomblets and grenades are often highly unstable and can explode at the slightest touch or movement, becoming de facto landmines that kill or injure civilians returning to the battle area after the attack.

The Type-81 rocket used by Hezbollah contains 39 MZD-2 or Type-90 submunitions. The rocket itself is an enhanced-range 122 mm rocket, similar to the ones Hezbollah launched carrying steel spheres. The individual submunitions resemble small cylindrical bells with a ribbon at one end. A plastic band full of 3mm steel spheres wraps horizontally around the middle of the cylinder. Inside is an armor-piercing “shaped charge.” These spheres are much smaller than the steel spheres carried by Hezbollah’s regular 122mm and 220mm rockets—that is, those that do not contain submunitions—which are 6mm in diameter.119

Nissim Levy, head of the Bomb Disposal Division of the Israel Police, told Human Rights Watch that the cluster rockets that Hezbollah fired at Israel during the conflict caused one death and 12 injuries in all: in Mghar one death and six injuries, in Karmiel three injuries, in Kiryat Motzkin two injuries, and in Nahariya one injury. Levy said the police discovered the first of these rockets on July 15 in the Upper Galilee village of Safsufa.120 Two landed in Haifa, the police said.121

Human Rights Watch was unable to confirm these casualty figures but did visit with two persons in Mghar bearing superficial injuries apparently caused by the kinds of small spheres contained in MZD-2 submunitions. In Mghar, residents showed us ordnance they had collected in and near their village that included clearly identifiable pieces of submunitions and their casings, including shaped charges, ribbons, fuzes, and small steel spheres. Karmiel Police Chief Ephraim Partok on October 9, 2006 showed Human Rights Watch physical evidence of a submunition from a Type-81 rocket that he said landed in Karmiel and that matched what we had seen one day earlier in Mghar.

A total of 118 Type-81 cluster munition rockets would contain 4,602 (118 x 39) individual submunitions. Police and army officials did not disclose to Human Rights Watch the estimated dud rate of the submunitions from the cluster rockets that they said they had handled, or whether duds had caused any injuries.

Human Rights Watch also researched the use of MZD-2 submunitions during a mission to Lebanon. An international de-miner from the nongovernmental Mines Advisory Group (MAG) told Human Rights Watch, “Hezbollah had [MZD-2 submunitions] and stockpiles were hit. They were not fired by Israel.”122 A de-miner from BACTEC, an explosive ordnance disposal company, said the submunitions he found in Lebanon “looked like a kick out”—in other words, ordnance that spread out when hit by another weapon. But he admitted it was “difficult to say if they were fired or preparing to be fired.”123 Human Rights Watch saw a live MZD-2 beside a road in Beit Yahoun, a village in south Lebanon, on October 24, 2006.

Human Rights Watch investigated only a small fraction of the 118 cluster munition strikes that Israeli authorities said Hezbollah fired. We saw evidence that they struck residential areas of the city of Karmiel far from any apparent fixed military objective. They also struck the town of Mghar; there are at least two military bases near Mghar but it is not known whether they were Hezbollah’s intended targets.

It is a violation of humanitarian law to target civilians or to attack them indiscriminately. As a means of combat, cluster munitions should be presumed indiscriminate when fired into the vicinity of populated areas; their indiscriminate effect is exacerbated when they are launched—as were the Hezbollah cluster munitions—from unguided rockets. The high dud rate of cluster munitions and the impact of duds on the civilian population also should be taken into account when determining whether a specific attack caused disproportionate harm to civilians. Individuals who fire cluster munitions with criminal intent deliberately or indiscriminately at populated areas would be responsible for war crimes.

At least 65 countries possess 122mm rockets. Six of those are known to possess 122mm cluster munition rockets: China, Egypt, Russia, Slovakia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to Hezbollah, non-state armed groups in Afghanistan (the Northern Alliance) and Croatia (the Serb militia) have used cluster munition rockets.

China and four other countries manufacture 122mm cluster munition rockets. China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), a Chinese state factory, manufactures the Type-81 122mm cluster munition rocket, which contains 39 Type-90 dual-purpose submunitions. NORINCO also manufactures the Type-90A 122mm cluster munition rocket, which contains 39 submunitions.

Human Rights Watch is preparing a report on Israel’s Use of Cluster Munitions during the 2006 conflict. It has issued shorter statements and papers on the subject, starting on July 24, 2006, that are online at

The international community has recently recognized the need for a stronger and clearer legal instrument governing cluster munitions. On February 23, 2007, in Oslo, Norway, 46 countries agreed to conclude a treaty banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians by 2008.124 In May 2007, 68 countries attending a treaty conference in Lima, Peru reached a broad agreement on the framework of a future treaty and its main elements. In addition to the prohibition on new cluster munitions, the treaty will include requirements and deadlines for stockpile destruction and clearance of contaminated areas, as well as an obligation to provide victim assistance.

62 Human Rights Watch wrote on April 30, 2007 to Hezbollah, requesting information about the rockets it launched into Israel during the 2006 conflict (see appendix to this report). At the time this report went to press, no reply had been received.

63 Human Rights Watch interview with Col. Yechiel Kuperstein, head of the IDF’s Physical Protection Department, Ramle, October 5, 2006.

64 While many of the rockets that landed outside of “built-up areas”landed in open fields or forests, others hit civilian settlements, such as kibbutzim and villages, in some cases causing civilian casualties. Hezbollah referred to these rural settlements by name in its regular communiqués listing the places it had attacked.

65 Human Rights Watch interview with Chief Superintendent Michael Cardash, deputy head of the Bomb Disposal Division of the Israel Police, Jerusalem, October 4, 2006.

66 Human Rights Watch, “Questions and Answers: 122mm Cluster Munition Rockets,” October 18, 2006,

67 Human Rights Watch “Questions and Answers: 122mm Cluster Munition Rockets,” October 18, 2006, See also, “Katyusha Rocket,” (accessed May 31, 2007).

68, “Katyusha Rocket.”

69 Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Cardash, Jerusalem, October 4, 2006.

70 Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Cardash, Jerusalem, October 4, 2006.

71 E-mail communication from Michael Cardash to Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2007.

72 Dr. Reuven Erlich, Lt. Col. Ret., “Hezbollah’s use of Lebanese civilians as human shields: the extensive military infrastructure positioned and hidden in populated areas; From within the Lebanese towns and villages deliberate rocket attacks were directed against civilian targets in Israel,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, November 2006, Appendix 1(v), (accessed July 22, 2007), p. 17. The study acknowledges support from “Military Intelligence, the Operations Division of the IDF General Staff, the IDF Spokesperson and the legal experts of the IDF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

73 E-mail communication from Michael Cardash to Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2007.

74 Human Rights Watch interview, Jerusalem, July 4, 2007.

75 Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Cardash, Jerusalem, October 4, 2006.

76 Human Rights Watch interview, Hertzliya, October 10, 2006.

77 Human Rights Watch, Questions and Answers: 122mm Cluster Munition Rockets, October 18, 2006, See also Jane’s Ammunition Handbook, Terry J. Gander and Charles Q. Cutshaw, eds. (Surry, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2001), p. 624.

78 See, e.g., “Hell From the Heavens,” U.S. News & World Report, July 31, 2006, pp. 32-33 (noting the training by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the use of rockets); “Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots,” The New York Times, July 19, 2006, p. 12 (noting that members of Iran’s Al-Quds force would have had to train Hezbollah in how to use the C-802, but would need not have been present at the scene); “U.S. Assails Iran for Alleged Hezbollah Arms Shipments; Lebanon: Administration Officials Accuse Tehran of Trying to Thwart Christopher's Peacemaking Effort,” Los Angeles Times, April 26, 1996 (refers to past training of Hezbollah fighters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards).

79 “Harsh Trajectories; Israel Continues to Attack Hezbollah's Rocket Arsenal, but Larger and More Destructive Threats Loom,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 7, 2006.

80 Ze’ev Schiff, “Hezbollah listened in on IDF beepers, cell phones,” Ha’aretz, October 4, 2006, (accessed May 1, 2007).

81 Ibid.

82 Ze’ev Schiff, “Syria, Iran intelligence services aided Hezbollah during war, Ha’aretz, October 3, 2006. (accessed May 5, 2007).

83 Alon Ben David, “Israel Shoots Down Hezbullah UAV,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, August 9, 2006. “In November 2004 and April 2005, Mirsad-1 [an Iranian-made Ababil] successfully penetrated Israeli air space, flying above Israeli towns without IAF detection,” reports Jane’s. It also said that the Israel Air Force shot down another Ababil that was heading for Israel on August 7, 2006 on a reconnaissance mission.

84 Erlich, “Hezbollah’s use of Lebanese civilians as human shields,” Appendix 1(v), (accessed May 7, 2007), pp. 225-231.

85 “Hell from the Heavens,” U.S. News & World Report.

86 See for example, “Iran denies giving aid to Hizbullah,” Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2006, (accessed June 21, 2007).

87 The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Ra’I al-`Am reported that Nasrallah made these comments to Egyptian scholar Sa`adeddin Ibrahim. Ihab Hashish, “Nasrallah to Sa`adeddin Ibrahim on the Summer War: Maybe We Miscalculated, But Only the Exalted One Makes No Mistakes; We Apologized to the Lebanese People and We Paid in Blood” (Sa`d al-din Ibrahim, naqlan `an Nasrallah hawl harb al-sayf: Rubbama akhta’na al-hisab wa jalla man la yakhti’...i`tatharna lil-lubnaniyin wa dafa`na dharibat dam), ar-Ra’i al-`Aam, February 3, 2007, (accessed June 20, 2007). Ibrahim subsequently confirmed in an e-mail to Human Rights Watch on June 13, 2007 that this article had accurately reported what Nasrallah had told him.  

88 Third semi-annual report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), S/2006/248, 19 April 2006, (accessed June 21, 2007), para. 64.

89 Fourth semi-annual report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), S/2006/832, October 19, 2006, (accessed June 21, 2007), para. 27 and fn. 6.

90 Irwin Arieff, “Arms Still Being Smuggled into Lebanon from Syria – UN,” Reuters, October 30, 2006.

91 Reuters, “Syria denies UN envoy's claims of arms smuggling from Syria to Lebanon,” November 8, 2006.

92 Fifth semi-annual report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559 (2004), S/2007/262, May 7, 2007, (accessed July 22, 2007), paras. 28 and 36.

93 United Nations Security Council presidential statement, S/PRST/2007/17, June 11, 2007, (accessed July 22, 2007).

94 “Report: Syria Dismisses UN Envoy’s Claims of Arms Smuggling into Lebanon,” Ha’aretz, June 13, 2007, (accessed June 22, 2007). Syria further denied breaching the embargo in letters it sent in May 2007 to the U.N. Secretary-General and to the president of the Security Council. See the fourth report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), S/2007/392, June 28, 2007, (accessed July 11, 2007), para. 39.

95 Ibid., para. 33.

96 Rym Ghazal, “Hizbullah demands army return weapons,” Daily Star, February 9, 2007, and Zeina Karam, “Lebanese defense minister: seized Hezbollah arms will be used by army,” Associated Press, February 9, 2007.

97 Letter dated 13 April 2007 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, S/2007/207, April 16, 2007, (accessed June 22, 2007).

98 U.N. Security Council Presidential Statement, April 17, 2007, S/PRST/2007/12, (accessed June 22, 2007).

99 Report of the United Nations Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team, S/2007/382, June 26, 2007, (accessed July 22, 2007).

100 Magnus Ranstorp, "Hezbollah's Future?" Jane's Intelligence Review, vol. 7, no. 1, January 1995, p. 35. Ranstorp also reported that Syria had tried to limit shipments of arms from Iran to Hezbollah in a meeting of Iran's minister of intelligence and Syria's chief of staff in Beirut in late 1994, and added: "Hezbollah circumvents these limits through the purchase of advanced weaponry, particularly AT-3s, from various arms dealers in Lebanon. Even if arms shipments from Iran ceased, it is estimated that Hezbollah has an arsenal that would enable it to continue its current level of military activity for at least five years."

101 Col. Ahaz Ben-Ari, then-head of the IDF's international law branch, in a written communication to Human Rights Watch, May 18, 1994.

102 See, e.g., David Bond, “Russian Rockets,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, September 4, 2006, p. 21; Paul Richter, “Focus on Mideast Arms Flow; U.S. and Israel, Fearing a Renewal of Fighting, Press Other Countries to Ensure That Their Weaponry Doesn't Get into Hezbollah's Hands,” Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2006, p. A8; David A. Fulghum and Douglas Barrie, “The Iranian Connection; New Operations, Advanced Weapons, Iranian Advisers Are Influencing the Course of Lebanon/Israel Conflict,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 14, 2006, p. 20.

103 Eric Westervelt, “Israel Struggles with Hezbollah Rockets, Guerrillas,” audio report, NPR News—All Things Considered, August 4, 2006 (interview with Michael Cardash).

104 Iran is known to produce the Noor and Hadid 40 tube 122mm MRL systems and the Arash version of the 122mm Katyusha MRL. Federation of American Scientists, “Iranian Artillery Rockets,” (accessed March 1, 2007). See also Anthony H. Cordesman, “Iranian Arms Transfers: The Facts, October 30, 2000,” (accessed March 8, 2007).

105 Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Cardash, October 4, 2007, and Erlich, “Hezbollah’s use of Lebanese civilians as human shields,” p. 142.

106 “Hell From the Heavens,” U.S. News & World Report; “Iran Shipping Arms to Hezbollah, U.S. Alleges,” Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1996. The pan-Arab daily Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reported on July 16, 2006 that, according to a “source close to a high-ranking official in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,” Teheran has supplied Hezbollah with approximately 11,500 missiles and projectiles, and that more than 3,000 Hezbollah members have undergone training in Iran. Ali Nouri Zadeh, “Iran Provider of Hezbollah's Weaponry: Source,” Al-Sharq al-Awsat English edition, July 16, 2006, (accessed June 22, 2007).

107 See, e.g., “Hell from the Heavens,” U.S. News & World Report; “Iran Shipping Arms to Hezbollah, U.S. Alleges,” Los Angeles Times.

108Harsh Trajectories; Israel continues to attack Hezbollah's rocket arsenal, but larger and more destructive threats loom,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 7, 2006.

109 39 of the 56 rockets that hit the city of Haifa itself during the conflict were 220 mm, according to Michael Cardash, deputy head of Israel Police’s Bomb Disposal Division. E-mail communication with Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2007.

110 Erlich, “Hezbollah’s use of Lebanese civilians as human shields,” p. 139.

111 Human Rights Watch interview with Michael Cardash, Jerusalem, October 4, 2006.

112 Human Rights Watch interview, Yohmor, Lebanon, October 26, 2006.

113 “Israel Says Syria, Not Just Iran, Supplied Missiles to Hezbollah,” Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2006; “Hezbollah's Skill More Military Than Militia,” Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2006.

114 See “Lebanon/Israel: Hezbollah Hit Israel with Cluster Munitions during Conflict,” Human Rights Watch, news release, October 19, 2006,

115 Data sheet, dated October 3, 2006, provided by the Israeli National Police to Human Rights Watch, and updated from 113 to 118 in an e-mail communication from Michael Cardash, deputy head of the police’s bomb disposal unit, to Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2007. Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Hezbollah dated October 31, 2006, in which it presented evidence of Hezbollah’s cluster munition use and asked it to clarify whether it had used such weapons. We followed up with a meeting on December 26 in Beirut with Ali Fayad, head of the Hezbollah-affiliated Consultative Center for Studies and Development, at which we requested an answer to this query. As of this date, Hezbollah has not responded in any fashion.

116 “Hezbollah Denies Cluster Bomb Use,” BBC News, October 19, 2006, (accessed April 27, 2007).

117 See, e.g, Human Rights Watch, Ticking Time Bombs: NATO’s Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia, vol. 11, no. 6 (D), June 1999, Chapter Two, section entitled “High Dud Rate,”, p. 5.

118 For example, UN Mine Action Coordination Centre South Lebanon (UNMACC SL) officials and NGO de-miners have frequently cited a 30 percent dud rate for Israel’s submunitions in Lebanon. See, e.g., South Lebanon Cluster Bomb Info Sheet (undated, but information current as of Oct. 10, 2006, on file at Human Rights Watch); U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Lebanon: Cluster Bomb Fact Sheet, Sept. 19, 2006.

119 “Lebanon: Hezbollah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians,” Human Rights Watch news release, July 18, 2006,

120 Human Rights Watch interview, Ramle, October 17, 2006.

121 E-mail communication from Michael Cardash to Human Rights Watch, June 21, 2007.

122 Human Rights Watch interview, Kfar Joz, Lebanon, October 25, 2006.

123 Human Rights Watch interview, Tyre, Lebanon, October 25, 2006.

124 Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, “Declaration,” February 22-23, 2007, (accessed March 2, 2007).