The Associated Press
Israel Using Phosphorous incendiaries against Lebanon
Tue Jul 25, 2006 18:37

Israel Using Phosphorous incendiaries against Lebanon
By Kathy Gannon
The Associated Press

Tuesday 25 July 2006

Tyre, Lebanon - Dirty bandages hid the worst of 8-year-old Zainab Jawad's swollen, bloodied nose Monday. Her arm, fractured in two places, was strapped to her chest.

Stretched out on a bed at Najem Hospital, Zainab squeezed her brown eyes shut as memories of the attack flooded back, some of her words muffled as she fought sobs.

A day earlier, Israeli bombs destroyed her family's home in the southern village of Ayta Chaeb. Then rockets slammed into the family's car as they fled.

"I don't want to remember, but I can't help it. What I remember most is the sound, the sound of the planes, and I was scared because I thought there were so many. I fell asleep last night, but all I could hear in my sleep were planes."

Zainab's aunt was in the next bed. Her mother, Usra Jawad, and 4-year-old brother, Mohammed, were across the hall. Mohammed's eyes fluttered as he slipped in and out of consciousness; his leg was in a cast to his hip. His mother's leg was in traction, with steel pins in several places.

The week before, Usra Jawad's three sisters visited her village to see the new family home. When the bombing started, the four sisters fled in a car with the two children, hoping to reach their parents' home north of Tyre.

But rockets hit their car. Two of the sisters, both teachers, were killed.

"Now I have no house. My sisters are dead," Usra Jawad said. "I can't do anything."

Jawad Najem, a surgeon at the hospital, said patients admitted Sunday had burns from phosphorous incendiary weapons used by Israel. The Geneva Conventions ban using white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Israel said its weapons comply with international law.

"Mahmoud Sarour, 14, was admitted to the hospital yesterday and treated for phosphorous burns to his face," Najem said. Mahmoud's 8-month-old sister, Maryam, suffered similar burns on her neck and hands when an Israeli rocket hit the family car.

The children were with their father, mother and other relatives when the car was hit by an Israeli missile. Their father died instantly.

The Sarour family was evacuated from Tyre to Cyprus on Monday aboard a ferry chartered by Germany.

The Sarours had to go to the port by taxi because the Lebanese Red Cross suspended operations outside Tyre after Israeli jets blasted two ambulances with rockets, said Ali Deebe, a Red Cross spokesman in Tyre.

In the incident Sunday, one Red Cross ambulance went south of Tyre to meet an ambulance and transfer the wounded to the hospital.

"When we have wounded outside the city, we always used two ambulances," Deebe said.

The rocket attack on the two vehicles wounded six ambulance workers and three civilians - an 11-year-old boy, an elderly woman and a man, Deebe said.

"One of the rockets hit right in the middle of the big red cross that was painted on top of the ambulance," he said. "This is a clear violation of humanitarian law, of international law. We are neutral, and we should not be targeted."

Kassem Shalan, one of the ambulance workers, told AP Television News nine people were injured. "We were transferring the wounded into our vehicle and something fell, and I dropped to the floor," he said.

Amateur video provided by an ambulance worker confirmed Deebe's account of damage to the vehicles, showing one large hole and several smaller ones in the roof of one ambulance and a large hole in the roof of the second. Both were destroyed.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the incident.

Israeli rockets have been hitting around Najem Hospital for most of the past two weeks, nursing director Inaya Haydar said. "I don't sleep very much at night, sometimes two hours; sometimes I don't sleep at all."

Six members of Haydar's family were killed three days ago in Srifa, her home village southeast of Tyre.

Before the Israeli assault began July 12 in response to Hezbollah militants' capturing two Israeli soldiers, Haydar commuted 30 minutes a day to her village. Since the bombardment began, she has not left the hospital.

Haydar's parents and younger sister have fled to the mountains north of Tyre. Her fiance, a Lebanese studying engineering in Sweden, wants Haydar to leave, as well.

"At midnight last night he called me and said: 'Please leave there and come to Sweden.' But I can't. If I leave ... then who is left here in the hospital to help our people and our country. I am Lebanese, this is my country. I love my country. I should stay."

She gestured toward another hospital room by way of explanation. Inside lay a day-old infant in an incubator. The baby was born in Tibnin, south of Tyre; his mother stayed home because she was too ill to travel after a Caesarean delivery.

"He was two hours old when he came and so sick," Haydar said. "They had to get him here quickly. If we were not here, who would help him?"


Technical analysis of cluster munitions

Cluster munitions are weapons that work by dispersing several smaller submunitions, often referred to as bomblets or grenades, over a wide area to destroy dispersed, moving and unseen targets. A cluster munition consists of a canister and several submunitions. After being dropped or fired, the canister opens in mid-air and ejects its cargo of submunitions. These submunitions then scatter over the target area and are designed to explode on impact.Cluster munitions can be delivered from aircraft, via rockets, missiles or bombs. Cluster munitions can also be launched from land-based systems such as artillery, from rockets, artillery shells or missiles.

Cluster munitions are area weapons. This means they have effects that are not confined to one precise target, such as an indidual tank for example. Other examples of area weapons include napalm or incendiary bombs, or even nuclear weapons. Area weapons can be distinguished from point weapons, which attack single, pre-identified targets. An example of a point weapon is a guided missile set to destroy an anti-aircraft gun.
Depending on the type of cluster munition and the type of delivery system, one cluster munition will strike an area as large as one square kilometre. This impact area is known as a footprint (click to watch). As noted above, cluster munitions are designed to explode on impact, or in other words each submunition will explode on impact, projecting shrapnel that is deadly over a radius of up to 50 metres. However, as with all munitions, a certain number of submunitions in each canister fail to explode on impact due to technical malfunction, inappropriate launch or drop conditions, soft terrain in the target area or a variety of other reasons.
MORE: Watch different videos of cluster munitions:



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Confirmed use of cluster munitions in populated areas in Lebanon by Israel (HRW Press Release)

Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populate...
Israel Should Not Use Cluster Munitions in Lebanon (Press Release)

CMC concerned over reports of cluster munition use

Israeli Cluster Munitions Hit Civilians in Lebanon
Israel Must Not Use Indiscriminate Weapons

(Beirut, July 24, 2006) – Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said today. Researchers on the ground in Lebanon confirmed that a cluster munitions attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed one and wounded at least 12 civilians, including seven children. Human Rights Watch researchers also photographed cluster munitions in the arsenal of Israeli artillery teams on the Israel-Lebanon border.
“Cluster munitions are unacceptably inaccurate and unreliable weapons when used around civilians,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “They should never be used in populated areas.”

According to eyewitnesses and survivors of the attack interviewed by Human Rights Watch, Israel fired several artillery-fired cluster munitions at Blida around 3 p.m. on July 19. The witnesses described how the artillery shells dropped hundreds of cluster submunitions on the village. They clearly described the submunitions as smaller projectiles that emerged from their larger shells.

The cluster attack killed 60-year-old Maryam Ibrahim inside her home. At least two submunitions from the attack entered the basement that the Ali family was using as a shelter, wounding 12 persons, including seven children. Ahmed Ali, a 45-year-old taxi driver and head of the family, lost both legs from injuries caused by the cluster munitions. Five of his children were wounded: Mira, 16; Fatima, 12; ‘Ali, 10; Aya, 3; and `Ola, 1. His wife Akram Ibrahim, 35, and his mother-in-law `Ola Musa, 80, were also wounded. Four relatives, all German-Lebanese dual nationals sheltering with the family, were wounded as well: Mohammed Ibrahim, 45; his wife Fatima, 40; and their children ‘Ali, 16, and Rula, 13.

Human Rights Watch researchers photographed artillery-delivered cluster munitions among the arsenal of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) artillery teams stationed on the Israeli-Lebanese border during a research visit on July 23. The photographs show M483A1 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, which are U.S.-produced and -supplied, artillery-delivered cluster munitions. The photographs contain the distinctive marks of such cluster munitions, including a diamond-shaped stamp, and a shape that is longer than ordinary artillery, according to a retired IDF commander who asked not to be identified.

Human Rights Watch conducted detailed analyses of the U.S. military’s use of cluster bombs in the 1999 Yugoslavia war, the 2001-2002 Afghanistan war, and the 2003 Iraq war. Human Rights Watch research established that the use of cluster munitions in populated areas in Iraq caused more civilian casualties than any other factor in the U.S.-led coalition’s conduct of major military operations in March and April 2003, killing and wounding more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians. Roughly a quarter of the 500 civilian deaths caused by NATO bombing in the 1999 Yugoslavia war were also due to cluster munitions.

“Our research in Iraq and Kosovo shows that cluster munitions cannot be used in populated areas without huge loss of civilian life,” Roth said. “Israel must stop using cluster bombs in Lebanon at once.”

Off Target:
The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Main Page - Wednesday, 07/26/06

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