Israel uses white phosphorus in Gaza: Amnesty

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Amnesty International has called on Israel to stop using munitions containing white phosphorus in the Gaza Strip after verifying video and witness accounts of these “indiscriminate” incendiary weapons being used in densely populated areas.

“Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Program gathered compelling evidence documenting the use of white phosphorus artillery shells by the Israeli army in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, many of which may be considered unlawful indiscriminate attacks,” says a report by the human rights watch.

Videos and photos verified by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab indicate that Israel has been using white phosphorus ammunition, it said.

The Israeli Defense Forces on Oct. 9 positioned M109 155mm Howitzers next to the city of Sderot, which had previously been attacked by Hamas and sits about one kilometer away from the Israel/Gaza border fence, according to the report.

In recent days, videos have been shared on social media showing northern Gaza being hit by white phosphorus artillery shells.

Crisis Evidence Laboratory, which confirmed the images taken from different angles of the attacks on Gaza Port and nearby hotels, also shared satellite images of the attack point.

White phosphorus catches fire spontaneously when it comes in contact with oxygen, releasing toxic fumes and generating temperatures of up to 815 degrees Celsius. Because it continues to burn until all of the material is used up or it is smothered, white phosphorus exposure can leave victims with permanent disabilities, scarring and chronic pain.

“It is used in a way that it cannot distinguish between a civilian population and a military target… particularly in the context of a densely populated area,” Yasmine Ahmed, the U.K. director of Human Rights Watch, said.

On the other hand, Israel denied accusations from the rights group that it had deployed the incendiary weapon white phosphorus in its war against Hamas militants.

“We deny those allegations, we have not made use of white phosphorus, not in Gaza and not in Lebanon,” an Israeli military spokesman said.

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