Israel Attacks Lebanon with US White-Phosphorous Bombs

December 15th, 2023 - by Haaretz & Reuters

Israel has fired controversial phosphorous bombs at targets in Lebanon.

Israel Reportedly Used US-made
White Phosphorus Bombs in Southern Lebanon
Haaretz & Reuters

(December 11, 2023) — According to the Washington Post report, at least three were hospitalized in the attack and four houses were burned down. Israel says it only used the weapon, whose use in civilian areas is prohibited under international law, to create smokescreens and not for offensive purposes/

Israel used US-made white phosphorus munitions in an attack in southern Lebanon in October, which wounded at least nine civilians, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The Post‘s investigation looked at shell fragments found in the small Lebanese village of Dhayra, and was also based on the testimonies of residents.

According to the residents of Dhayra, the shelling of the village on October 16 lasted for hours and prevented them from leaving their homes until the next day.

At least one of those interviewed said that he had difficulty breathing for several days following the attack. “The whole village was white. They told us to put something soaked in water on our faces. It helped a little,” he said.

Other residents said that they don’t understand why the shells were used over so many hours, and added that it is possible that in this way Israel sought to evacuate the village.

Of the nine wounded in the attack, at least three were hospitalized, and according to residents of the village, at least four houses were burned down, the report said.

White phosphorus is a substance that ignites as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen and can reach extremely high temperatures. When it comes into contact with skin it can cause severe burns, life-threatening damage to internal organs and respiratory damage.

While there are legitimate uses of white phosphorus on the battlefield, such as creating smokescreens over large areas, its use may violate international law when done in civilian areas.

Israel has been criticized for using white phosphorous against people in Gaza.

In a statement by the Israeli army cited in the report, the white phosphorus shells were used to create smokescreens and not for offensive purposes.

According to the statement, the use of the weapon “complies and goes beyond the requirements of international law.”

A US defense official said they were aware of reports about the attack, the Post reported: “We take reports of its unlawful use seriously,” the official said, adding, “We continue to underscore the importance of international humanitarian law compliance.”

At the end of October, the Associated Press reported that Amnesty International had evidence of three more cases of the IDF firing white phosphorus shells in the Lebanese border area, but in these cases there was no evidence of harm to civilians.

On October 13, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using white phosphorus munitions in its military operations in Gaza and Lebanon, saying the use of such weapons puts civilians at risk of serious and long-term injury.

Asked for comment on the allegations, Israel’s military said it was “currently not aware of the use of weapons containing white phosphorous in Gaza.” It did not provide comment on the rights watchdog’s allegations of their use in Lebanon.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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