Rights group urges Israel to stop using white phosphorous

January 11th, 2009 - 5:07 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 11 (IANS) A human rights group Saturday accused Israel of using hazardous white phosphorous in its military operation in Gaza in violation of the international law, IRNA reported.The white phosphorus, used as concealment during military operations, has major effects that can severely burn people and could set ablaze structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity, Human Rights Watch said.

The group has urged Israel to stop using the material in densely populated areas of Gaza. It said its researchers have observed multiple airbursts of white phosphorus over the Gaza City and Jabaliya area on Jan 9 and 10.

“White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause serious burns when it touches the skin,” Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch, said.

“Israel should not use it in Gaza’s densely populated areas,” he added.

He said the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas violate international humanitarian law that stipulates essential safety measures to avoid civilian injury and loss of life during military conflicts.

Since the beginning of Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza Jan 3, there have been numerous media reports about the possible use of white phosphorous by Israeli military, raising concerns on the safety of the civilian population.

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