Friday, January 16, 2009

Home Video of White Phosphorus Being Dropped on Gaza


Jan 15, 2009 Khan Younis: "We could hear their bodies burning," 27-year-old Fadia Al Najjar recounts. As Israeli planes poured DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) munitions on Gaza residents, Fadia recounts the night of terror her family endured. "We were terrified. We thought we were going to burn to death," she said. Fadia and her husband Ghanem, who is a paramedic, live in the Khazaa neighborhood. While the munitions were falling, Ghanem had been dispatched to attend to the wounded. While on duty he inhaled the white smoke.

"Neighbours were screaming, asking for help; the fire was spreading," she remembers. "I woke up my kids, got them to my parents' house, hoping to find a safer place." "After we reached to my parents, the bombs followed us to their home too and the fire spread everywhere. The top floor was burnt completely." It's not just her husband Fadia keeps watch over. In fact, the young mother has to split her time among the hospital's many wards. Her children have also been hospitalised. "They wanted to burn us alive inside the house.

There were 40 of us in there. Men, women, children," she recalls of the second bombing. After the sixth bomb hit the home, Zakaya, a relative of Fadias was able to escape with her family but were forced to abandon those left in the building. The fire was too hot and the smoke too intense and no one could get back inside. "The smoke was spreading so fast; we couldn't see through it. We couldn't see, but we could hear." From the windows of the burning home the cries of her children and cousins filled the streets. "The cries were not just from my home, but from the neighbours' house too."

Dr Yousef Abu Ar Reesh, the medical director at Nasser Medical Center, said more than 90 patients were brought in for burn treatments. "Most of them were skin burns, lacerations and deep wounds. A lot of them came in choking, unable to breathe," he explains. He explained that as far as he can tell the Israeli army is using two kinds of bombs, "The first causes severe skin burns and leads to death and the second kind leads to suffocation, congestion, the inability to breathe." "The Israeli government is using a new kind of bomb and explosives that Palestinian medics have never even heard of." "Not even the Arab medical teams who just arrived can give us any support," he says. The doctor pointed out that the wounds and burns are "terrible and horrific." When asked if Israel is deliberately using weapons that are illegal under international law for use against civilians, Dr Ar Reesh chooses his words carefully: "I can't rule that out." :: 5407.html

*** UNRWA Headquarters Bombed ***

The main UN compound in Gaza was in flames today after being struck by Israeli artillery fire, and a spokesman said that the building had been hit by shells containing the incendiary agent white phosphorus. The attack on the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) came as Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, arrived in Israel on a peace mission and plunged Israel's relations with the world body to a new low.

Mr Ban told reporters in Tel Aviv that he had expressed "strong protest and outrage" to the Israeli Government over the shelling of the compound and was demanding an investigation. He said that Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, had told him it was "a grave mistake".

UNWRA, which looks after some four million Palestinian refugees around the region, suspended its operations in Gaza after the attack, in which it said three of its employees had been injured.

Chris Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said that the building had been used to shelter hundreds of people fleeing Israels 20-day offensive in Gaza. He said that pallets with supplies desperately needed by Palestinians in Gaza were on fire.

"What more stark symbolism do you need?" he said. "You cant put out white phosphorus with traditional methods such as fire extinguishers. You need sand, we dont have sand.
The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus shells in the Gaza offensive, although an investigation by The Times has revealed that dozens of Palestinians in Gaza have sustained serious injuries from the substance, which burns at extremely high temperatures.

The Geneva Convention of 1980 proscribes the use of white phosphorus as a weapon of war in civilian areas, although it can be used to create a smokescreen. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said today that all weapons used in Gaza were "within the scope of international law".

The attack on the UN compound came as Israeli forces pushed deeper into Gaza City and unleashed their heaviest shelling on its crowded neighbourhoods in three weeks of war. At least 15 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli attacks, medical officials said, pushing the death toll up towards 1,100 - a level that Mr Ban described as "unbearable".


  1. I like...Jan 15, 2009 Khan Younis: "We could hear their bodies burning," 27-year-old Fadia Al Najjar recounts. As Israeli planes poured DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) munitions on Gaza residents, Fadia recounts the night of terror her family endured.