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Israel used uranium bombs in Lebanon

Al Jazeera / Tehran Times | October 31, 2006

UK’s The Independent published a report on Saturday accusing Israeli forces of dropping uranium-enriched phosphorous bombs on Lebanon during the recent war that came to an end with the issuance of UN Resolution 1701 that demanded warring parties to ceasefire.

"We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week," The Independent said in its report.

"And we now know -- after it first categorically denied using such munitions -- that the Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which neither Israel nor the United States have signed," the article said.

According to the report, Dr. Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, said laboratory tests of soil taken from bomb craters in the southern Lebanese towns of Khiam and At-Tiri, near Nabatiye, suggest that bombs containing Uranium had been used. Dr Busby added that there are two reasons for the contamination; "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash." "The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium."

Image of the explosion of the first bomb showed huge clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

"When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the explosion are very long-lived in the environment… They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs.

“The military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it is," Dr. Busby added.

Israeli military claims it will investigate the report allegations.

Israel’s brutal military campaign against Lebanon, that ended last August, killed over 1,400 civilians, about one third of whom are children, and inflicted serious damages to the country’s infrastructure.

The head of the country’s Council for Development and Reconstruction, Fadl Shalak, said on 16 August that the damage that resulted from Israel’s bombardment to Lebanon amounted to U.S. $3.5 billion: U.S. $2 billion for buildings and U.S. $1.5 billion for infrastructure such as bridges, roads and power plants.

Numerous humanitarian groups and human rights activists have been warning about the devastating impact of cluster munitions Israel is believed to have used during its recent invasion of Lebanon.

According to a report prepared by Landmine Action and released earlier this month, 60 percent of Israeli cluster strikes hit built-up areas during the 35-day war in Lebanon.

"In the final three days, three times as many Israeli rockets, shells and bombs were fired per day," the report said, resulting in between 2 and 3 civilians still being killed or injured by cluster munitions every day.

"Every day women and children are killed or injured as they sift through the rubble of their former homes by cluster munitions that failed to go off when they should have," said Landmine Action Director Simon Conway.

"The claim that these faulty weapons can be used in a precise or surgical way is a lie. The evidence is there to see littering the ruined houses and olive groves of southern Lebanon," Conway added.

Amnesty International, which called for launching a comprehensive, independent and impartial UN inquiry into violations of international humanitarian laws during Lebanon war, revealed earlier that the Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August. (Source: Aljazeera.com)


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