Human Rights Watch said it was clear Israel had fired shells containing white phopshorus[GALLO/GETTY]
By JASON KEYSER, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) – Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel's military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies.
Researchers in Israel from the rights group witnessed hours of artillery bombardments that sent trails of burning smoke indicating white phosphorus over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. But they could not confirm injuries on the ground because they have been barred from entering the territory.
The chief doctor at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza said he treated several victims there with serious burns that might have been caused by phosphorus. He said, however, that he did not have the resources or expertise to say with certainty what caused the injuries.
The substance can cause serious burns if it touches the skin and can spark fires on the ground, the rights group said in a written statement calling on Israel not to use it in crowded areas of Gaza.
Military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich refused to comment directly on whether Israel was using phosphorus, but said the army was "using its munitions in accordance with international law."
Israel used white phosphorus in its 34-day war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. The U.S. military in Iraq used the incendiary during a November 2004 operation against insurgents in the city of Fallujah.
An AP photographer and a TV crew based in Gaza visited Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis on Sunday and recorded images of several burn patients...AP
Related artilce: Israel 'using white phosphorus'