WASHINGTON, December 11. /TASS/. Israel used US-supplied white phosphorus munitions in an October attack in southern Lebanon, The Washington Post reports. The daily’s correspondents analyzed missile debris and photographs to arrive at the conclusion.
White phosphorus is used in aircraft bombs, air-launched cluster munitions, artillery shells, mines, and in mixtures. Incendiary weapons are classified as conventional weapons, but the 3rd Protocol of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits their use against civilians and civilian facilities, as well as in strikes against military targets in civilian areas. Human rights organizations are calling for classifying phosphorus bombs as chemical weapons.
A journalist working for The Washington Post found "remnants of three 155-millimeter artillery rounds" fired into southern Lebanon. According to the daily’s information, the shelling incinerated at least four homes and of the nine injured in Israel's attack on the affected village at least three were hospitalized. At the same time, the WP notes with reference to expert data that the markings on the shells’ casings confirmed that they were produced in the US in 1989 and 1992. A number of identification marks indicate that the shells contained white phosphorus. The video footage of the October 16 shelling, obtained by the newspaper from Amnesty International’s human rights activists, also clearly demonstrated the use of chemical munitions, which leave characteristic smoke traces.
As the newspaper notes, the munitions were included in the US military support packages for Israel, which increased after the latest aggravation of the situation in the Middle East. The WP points out that the use of such munitions near civilian areas was prohibited by international humanitarian law and "should be investigated as a war crime."
On October 11, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of using phosphorus and cluster munitions in the Gaza Strip. Justice Minister Muhammed Shalalda said that Palestine was asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to address the issue of Israel's use of banned weapons in its bombardment of the enclave. At the same time, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric told a news briefing in New York on October 13 that the UN had no confirmation of Israel's use of white phosphorus.