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White Phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives: Is Israel Using Banned and Experimental Munitions in Gaza?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 :Israel is coming under increasing criticism for its possible use of banned and experimental munitions. Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of illegally firing white phosphorous - that causes horrific burns if it comes in contact with the skin - over crowded refugee camps in Gaza. Medics and human rights groups are also reporting that they are seeing injuries distinctive of another controversial weapon, Dense Inert Metal Explosive - known as DIME - that was designed by the US Air Force in 2006. Those struck by the weapon who survive suffer severe mutilations and internal injuries. We go to the Gaza border to speak with Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch and to Norway to speak with Dr. Mads Gilbert who just returned from the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He says Gaza is "truly a scene from Dante's 'Inferno.'"
As the assault on Gaza enters its 19th day, Israel is coming under increasing criticism for its possible use of banned and experimental munitions.
Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of illegally firing white phosphorous over crowded refugee camps in Gaza.
White Phosphorous shells cause horrific burns if they come in contact with the skin. Under international law, phosphorus is allowed as a smokescreen to cover troop movements and protect soldiers, or to be used for illumination, but is considered illegal if used against people.
In addition to white phosphorous, medics and human rights groups are reporting that they are seeing injuries distinctive of another controversial weapon. The munition, called DIME, for Dense Inert Metal Explosive, was designed to create a powerful blast over a small area. It was developed by the US Air Force in 2006.
Those struck by the weapon who survive suffer severe mutilations and internal injuries. The weapon causes the tissue to be torn from the flesh.
Unlike traditional munitions, there is said to be no shrapnel. Instead, particles of metals can be found in the bodies of those affected. Those residues have been found on victims in Gaza.
Israel has denied it is using either white phosphorous or DIME weapons.
Joining us now on the telephone from Norway, is one of the medics who first accused Israel of using DIME explosives. Dr. Mads Gilbert is an expert in emergency medicine. He and his colleague Erik Fosse have just returned from the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where they were volunteering through the aid organization NORWAC. Shifa Hospital is the largest hospital in Gaza City.
We are also joined by Marc Garlasco on the northern border of Gaza. He is a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch investigating Israel’s use of white phosphorous.
Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch. He is on the northern border of Gaza.
Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who worked at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza during the Israeli assault.LISTEN ONLINE