Thursday, February 5, 2009

After the war, Gazans seek answers on white phosphorus

Gaza doctors add to the growing number of accounts that suggest Israel used white phosphorus munitions against international norms of war.

By Ilene R. Prusher
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

"Gaza City, Gaza - When Nafiz Abu Shabam received a 5-year-old patient at the Shifa Hospital early in the war between Israel and Hamas, he dressed her burns and sent her for tests. Three hours later, when he and other medical staff redressed the wound, they saw smoke coming from it. "We found small pieces of foreign material in her body, and even when we picked it out, the wound was still smoking," he says. "We were later told [by foreign doctors and human rights workers who arrived after the war started] that it was white phosphorus.".....

Abu Shabam, head of the burn unit, complains that enough isn't being done by the international aid and rights groups to verify whether white phosphorus munitions were used in civilian areas. "The time is now," he says. "We need them to be investigating and testing the area of explosions before evidence is lost."....

Amnesty International says a fact-finding team here has also found evidence that white phosphorus was used in populated areas. "We now know that white phosphorus munitions were used in built-up civilian areas, although the Israeli authorities previously denied this," said Donatella Rovera, head of Amnesty International's investigation team in Gaza, in a statement on the organization's website......."

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