Gaza death toll soars past 500 as Israel is accused of using banned phosphorus shells

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/

Rain of fire: An Israeli missile explodes, sending scores of incendiary shells pouring down on the northern Gaza Strip as a major building burns

Daily Mail | Jan 5, 2009

By Matthew Kalman

Speculation mounted last night that Israel might have been using banned white phosphorus shells in its assault on Gaza.

As troops and tanks advanced, artillery shells were fired that caused a screen of dense white smoke.

Blobs of phosphorus cause severe burns to anyone caught under them and their use as a military weapon is forbidden in civilian areas under the Geneva Treaty of 1980.

Israel admitted to using the weapon during its 2006 military operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But the Israeli military last night denied using the controversial weapon in Gaza.

‘Israel uses munitions that are allowed for under international law,’ said spokesman Captain Ishai David, refusing to discuss the type shells used during the Gaza incursion.

Another Israeli military expert said the explosions simply produced ‘a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in’.

British experts said that if white phosphorus had been used in an area as densely populated as Gaza then Israel might have committed a war crime.

‘If phosphorus was deliberately fired at a crowd of people someone would end up in The Hague,’ Charles Heyman, a former major in the British Army, told the Times.

Meanwhile civilians were claimed to have borne the brunt of the casualties on the first full day of Israel’s invasion of Gaza as the death toll from the nine-day onslaught soared past 500 yesterday.

Israeli forces used tanks, artillery and aircraft to protect thousands of advancing troops as they effectively split the Palestinian territory in two with Gaza City surrounded on all sides.

Israeli president Shimon Peres said: ‘We intend neither to occupy Gaza nor crush Hamas but to crush terror. And Hamas needs a real and serious lesson. They are now getting it.’

An Israeli newspaper said the army’s guiding principle was to use overwhelming force and do everything to protect its soldiers, even if that resulted in civilian casualties.

Israel says the ground operation was necessary because rocket attacks from Hamas fighters had continued despite eight days of aerial attack to wipe out bases of the Islamic militant group. Hamas claimed yesterday it had captured two Israeli soldiers but Israel said it had no knowledge of the claim.

Last night the death toll from the first 24 hours of the ground invasion was said to be at least 42 Palestinians, most of them civilians as shells slammed into houses and Gaza’s main shopping district. Israel also suffered its first military death of the nine-day conflict when a soldier was killed and 30 others wounded, two seriously. Gaza health officials said among the victims were a 12-year-old girl, five members of the same family, and another eight civilians killed by a tank shell as they fled their home for the safety of a nearby school.

A foreign doctor working for the Red Crescent said: ‘Civilians are being killed … shells are severing people’s legs, shrapnel is going into people’s bodies and into homes, a lot of people are being cut down. Everyone is terrified.’

Among the casualties was a Palestinian paramedic working for an Oxfam-funded organisation. He was killed when a shell struck a civilian ambulance. Another paramedic lost his foot and a driver was injured in the same incident.

The latest deaths brought the toll in the Gaza Strip since the start of Operation Cast Lead to 512. The Israeli cabinet, meeting in Tel Aviv to be near the military command HQ, signalled that the operation could last a considerable time as leaders brushed aside growing international calls for an immediate ceasefire.

It emerged yesterday that Gordon Brown made a last-ditch attempt to stop the invasion of Gaza in a phone call to Israeli premier Ehud Olmert. He also asked Hamas leaders to stop firing rockets but both appeals were turned down.

Tens of thousands of Israeli reservists are to be called up this week. ‘The government did everything before deciding to launch the operation,’ said Olmert. ‘This is an unavoidable operation.’

Israeli aircraft continued to pound missile silos and explosives tunnels laid by Hamas to destroy advancing tanks up and down the strip. They also bombed smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border.

Israeli navy gunships imposed a 20-mile exclusion zone and pounded targets along the shoreline. At least two senior militant commanders were killed when helicopter gunships targeted their vehicles.

One Palestinian family said they were forced to abandon their home and seek refuge with relatives after Hamas gunmen took up positions inside their apartment building in a crowded residential district. ‘We will fight till our last breath,’ said Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan. ‘Your invasion of Gaza will not be a cakewalk. Gaza will be your cemetery and you have no choice but to end the aggression and lift the blockade.’

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas during clashes with Palestinian protesters demonstrating against the Israeli strikes on Gaza

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas during clashes with Palestinian protesters demonstrating against the Israeli strikes on Gaza

Despite the fighting, Hamas managed to fire more than 30 rockets across the border into southern Israel, and nearly one million Israelis were forced to spend the day beside bomb shelters as sirens wailed warning of incoming rocket fire. Some rockets scored direct hits on houses, but there were no serious casualties.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas flew to New York in an effort to wring some action out of the UN Security Council, which has yet to agree on a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

7 responses to “Gaza death toll soars past 500 as Israel is accused of using banned phosphorus shells

  1. Not a big deal but..

    “An Israeli missile explodes..” actually I dont think that’s a missile, looks like a US white phosphorus (WP) burster artillery round. WP is illegal per the law of land warfare to employ against people.

    WP grenades burn hot enough to melt through an engine block like a hot knife through butter… imagine that raining down on you.

  2. I think you are quite right about that being an artillery shell. Also lobbed by artillery were banned cluster bombs as the Israelis used in Lebanon, also American made. Let’s face it, none of this would be possible without US munitions and financial aid. And these evil Zionist Neocons have absolutely no concern about who they kill, or how it is done. In the end, it will be the average Israelis themselves who will suffer the most for letting this happen just as the Germans suffered under the Nazis. I believe though that this is just another Hegelian dialectic set up for a larger agenda that goes beyond just Israeli interests. It’s called the New World Order.

  3. Hm yes it seems that any country in the world that might be independent and not in debt, gets abused and destroyed and ‘international community’ puts in their version of what the government is supposed to be, like palestine, iran, belarus, lithuania, cuba. for example in Lithuania its president is a guy who lived in US during the cold war and later turned out that he worked for CIA and was part of bringing western corporotracity to the eastern block countries of europe. Also I have head from inside sources that NATO was involved in overthrouwing the elected President of lithuania in 2003 and putting the CIA rep back to power. and this is simply the policy of the global powers: to make everyone completely depnedent for every aspect of our lives on a select group of people that we will never know who they are.

  4. unfortunately USA is being used as a resource for world management and ounce they will be done, USA will be discarded as a labour camp or some other designation. It is almost there, everyone is broke and in debt, noone has the money as if it was burned the minute it came out. They didn’t drop any prices down just the money suply

  5. The CIA and the KGB have always been in cahoots with Israel playing a central role being both communistic and fascistic. Look into Skull and Bones funding the Soviet system from the Bolsheviks on through the Cold War. Then look into the Reece Committe Norman Dodd. The elite of the Ford Foundation and all the big foundations planned to merge us with the Soviet system through Hegelian dialectics. It’s all a rigged setup to drive us into this NWO. This is why “our country” is not our country and never was as far as I’m concerned. We have been lied to for centuries and made into a bunch of useful idiots. It matters not what party you belong to, or what religion. All pawns in the game. Time finally to wake up and learn to free ourselves from the grip of these diabolical monsters.

  6. I must say, american Nation is very danger!!!
    1. This is white Phosphornation!
    2. American Education is a Killology!
    3. American King is Jesus! Lukas 19:27.
    4. New U.S. Trops for Afghanistan!
    5. Obamas Waragenda 2010!!!
    6. With Military Bible!

    Atheist 100%

  7. max benser

    Can’t disagree with you, except maybe to try to be “spiritual” which is the alternative between theism and atheism.

    Also America’s main gods are divided between Jesus, Jehovah, Mary, Moses, Satan, Lucifer and Jahbulon.

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