Posted by: Lister | January 20, 2009

Mahmoud Mattar

Mahmoud is a 14 year-old boy, blinded in both eyes and badly burned by Israel’s barbaric war. Injured on January 6th, he’s now in the Sheikh Zayid Hospital near Cairo.

The Times:

Mahmoud Mattar

“He was walking to the mosque when the attack started,” his uncle, Nahad Mattar, said. “Two of his friends who were walking with him were killed instantly. Their bodies are in pieces. He was hit by something and his body began to burn.

“There were bits of blood and skin all over him. We couldn’t tell what was his and what was other people.”

Witnesses in Jabalya describe thesigns of white phosphorus shelling — thick white smoke, a strong smell and fires that burn until covered with sand — and say that dozens more experienced burns in the same attack.

[…] Muhammad Hassanat, 26, and his neighbour Tamer Omar Ellouhe, 18, both lost their legs when a volley of artillery fire hit their Gaza City suburb of Zeitoun — the same area where dozens of members of the Samouni family were buried alive in an Israeli strike. The survivors were forced to wait several days for ambulances to get through the fighting. Yesterday Samouni family corpses were still being pulled from the rubble.

Another Times article says:

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had privately admitted using phosphorus bombs, and that the Judge Advocate General’s Office and Southern Command were investigating.

[…] Yesterday reports emerged from Gaza about the killing of five members of the Halima family, when a single white phosphorus shell dropped on their house in the town of Atatra on January 3. Two others were in a coma and three were seriously wounded, according to doctors and survivors.

Salima Halima, 44, who is in Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, said that the chemical burst in all directions after hitting her living room.

Reuters reports that Amnesty claims to have collected evidence that Israel used WP in civilian areas:

“In response to the claims … relating to the use of phosphorus weapons, and in order to remove any ambiguity, an investigative team has been established in southern command to look into the issue,” the Israeli army said.

[…] Amnesty’s accusations were made on the basis of an on-the-ground study by a British weapons expert following the ceasefire put into force by Israel and Hamas on Sunday.

Weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith, who visited Gaza as part of a four-person Amnesty team, said he had found widespread evidence of the use of the incendiary material.

“We saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army,” he said in a statement.

[…]Among the places worst-affected by use of white phosphorous was the U.N. Relief and Works Agency compound in Gaza, Amnesty said. Israel shelled the compound on Jan. 15, causing widespread damage. The U.N. at the time accused Israel of using white phosphorus, but the Israeli army refused to comment.

Amnesty.org lists more of Amnesty’s findings.

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Responses

  1. The BBC on the WP allegations.

    And Foreign Office Minister Lord Mark Malloch-Brown has called for an international investigation:

    “We must make sure the facts are established. We must move beyond the reiteration of newspaper reports to establish once and for all what did or did not happen,” he said in the upper parliamentary chamber, the House of Lords.

    “And therefore, of course, we are going to support fully the efforts to establish independent international investigation of this.”

    The AFP also says that an Israeli paper has reported that Israel will launch its own investigation.


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