Friday, March 27, 2009

Israeli Use White Phosphorus on Civilians

Isreal military fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza repeatedly and indiscriminately in its three-week war, killing and injuring civilians and committing war crimes, Human Rights Watch said.

"In Gaza, the Israeli military didn't just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops," said Fred Abrahams, a senior Human Rights Watch researcher. "It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren't in the area and safe smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died." He said senior commanders should be held to account.

In a 71-page report, the rights group said the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells in populated areas of Gaza was not incidental or accidental, but revealed "a pattern or policy of conduct".

( White Phosphorus burns in air, and on contact will burn through flesh to the bone. The gas released from it as it burns causes corrosive clouds that are extremely poisonous.)

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