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Amnesty Worldwide says Israeli forces wounded Lebanese civilians with white phosphorus

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BEIRUT — The human rights group Amnesty Worldwide mentioned Tuesday that civilians in southern Lebanon have been injured this month when Israeli forces hit a border village with shells containing white phosphorus, a controversial incendiary munition.

The group mentioned it verified three different situations of Israel’s navy dropping white phosphorus on Lebanese border areas prior to now month, however Amnesty mentioned it didn’t doc any hurt to civilians in these {cases}.

Human rights advocates say using white phosphorus is unlawful beneath worldwide legislation when the white-hot chemical substance is fired into populated areas. It may possibly set buildings on hearth and burn human flesh all the way down to the bone. Survivors are prone to infections and organ or respiratory failure, even when their burns are small.

After an Oct. 16 Israeli strike within the city of Duhaira, homes and vehicles caught hearth and 9 civilians have been rushed to the hospital with respiratory issues from the fumes, Amnesty mentioned. The group mentioned it had verified images that confirmed white phosphorus shells lined up subsequent to Israeli artillery close to the tense Lebanon-Israel border.

The group described the incident as an “indiscriminate assault” that harmed civilians and needs to be “investigated as a struggle crime.”

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A paramedic shared images with the The Related Press of first responders in oxygen masks and serving to an aged man, his face coated with a shirt, out of a burning home and into an ambulance.

“That is the primary time we’ve seen white phosphorus used on areas with civilians in such giant quantities,” Ali Noureddine, a paramedic who was among the many responding emergency employees, mentioned. “Even our guys wanted oxygen masks after saving them.”

The Amnesty report is the most recent in a sequence of allegations by human rights teams that Israeli forces have dropped shells containing white phosphorus on densely populated residential areas in Gaza and Lebanon throughout the ongoing Israel-Hamas struggle.

Israel maintains it makes use of the incendiaries solely as a smokescreen and to not goal civilians.

The Israeli navy mentioned in an announcement to the AP earlier this month that the principle kind of smokescreen shells it makes use of “don’t include white phosphorous.” Nevertheless it didn’t rule out its use in some conditions. The navy didn’t instantly reply to inquiries about Tuesday’s Amnesty assertion.

The rights group mentioned it additionally verified {cases} of white phosphorus shelling on the border city of Aita al Shaab and over open land near the village of al-Mari. It mentioned the shelling brought about wildfires. The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, UNIFI, was known as in to assist with firefighting efforts as native firefighters couldn’t go close to the entrance traces, a spokesperson for the mission informed the AP.

Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have additionally reported an alleged case of white phosphorus shelling in a populated space of the Gaza Strip throughout the present Israel-Hamas struggle however haven’t verified civilian accidents from it.

Medical doctors working in hospitals within the besieged Palestinian territory informed the AP they noticed sufferers with burn wounds they thought have been brought on by white phosphorus however they didn’t have the capability to check for it.

In 2013, the Israeli navy mentioned it might cease utilizing white phosphorus in populated areas in Gaza, besides in slender circumstances that it didn’t reveal publicly. The choice got here in response to an Israeli Excessive Courtroom of Justice petition about use of the munitions.

The navy disclosed the 2 exceptions solely to the court docket, and didn’t mark an official change in coverage.


Related Press author Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed.

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