Wednesday, September 13, 2006

When rockets and phosphorous cluster


"According to the commander, in order to compensate for the rockets' imprecision, the order was to "flood" the area with them. "We have no option of striking an isolated target, and the commanders know this very well," he said. He also stated that the reserve soldiers were surprised by the use of MLRS rockets, because during their regular army service, they were told these are the IDF's "judgment day weapons" and intended for use in a full-scale war.

The commander also said that at least in one case, they were asked to fire cluster rockets toward "a village's outskirts" in the early morning: "They told us that this is a good time because people are coming out of the mosques and the rockets would deter them." In other cases, they fired the rockets at a range of less than 15 kilometers, even though the manufacturer's guidelines state that firing at this range considerably increases the number of duds. The commander further related that during IDF training exercises hardly any live rockets are fired, for fear that they would leave duds behind and fill the IDF's firing grounds with mines.

At the same time, soldiers are reporting that they fired phosphorous shells, which are supposed to be used by the IDF for marking or setting fire to areas, in order to start fires in Lebanon. The artillery commander says he saw trucks with phosphorous shells en route to artillery batteries in the North.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell causes severe burns and a painful death. Around a year ago, there was an international scandal after a television crew presented harsh pictures of the charred bodies of Iraqis injured by phosphorous bombs during the course of the American attack on the city of Fallujah."

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