US stunned at reports of white phosphorus attacks in Lebanon

The White House was left stunned at the reports coming out of Lebanon that Israeli forces used white phosphorus in an attack back in October, reports ABC News.

The chemical weapon was supplied by America, Israel’s biggest ally who continue to fund the Middle Eastern state militarily to the tune of $3 billion per annum. 

On December 11, a US official said that President Biden’s administration had concerns over the findings as the incident in southern Lebanon caused serious injuries to nine people and burnt down four homes. 

Shortly after the attack, Samia Garbieh, a southern Lebanon resident said, “You cannot mistake white phosphorus for anything else, the smell does not give room for hesitation,” 

White phosphorus is a highly efficient smoke-producing agent, reacting with air to produce an immediate blanket of phosphorus pentoxide vapour. It was first used by Irish nationalist arsonists back in the 19th century. 

READ: Lebanon prepares for war with Israel as tensions grow

John Kirby, The US National Security Council Spokesman, noted, “Anytime that we provide items like white phosphorus to another military, it is with the full expectation that it will be used in keeping with those legitimate purposes and in keeping with the law of armed conflict.

Human rights groups worldwide found that Israel’s military had been using the substance since 2008. Human Rights Watch wrote on their website on October 12, “From December 27, 2008, to January 18, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military fired approximately 200 ground-launched white phosphorus munitions into populated areas of Gaza.  

“Israeli forces relied particularly on 155mm M825E1 artillery projectiles, which send burning phosphorus wedges 125 meters in all directions, giving them a broad area effect.” 

Operation Cast Lead, also known as the Gaza massacre, refers to a month lasting conflict dating from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 between the enclave-controlling militants Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). 

A group of Democrat senators recently announced that they were working on an amendment, “to require that the weapons received by any country under the proposed national security supplemental are used in accordance with US law, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict”. 

ABC News/ The National

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