US 'used' chemical weapon in Falluja

Italian state television has aired a documentary alleging that the US used white phosphorus shells in a massive and indiscriminate way against civilians during the November 2004 offensive in Falluja.

    There have been allegations the US used outlawed weapons

    The report on Tuesday said the shells were not used to illuminate enemy fighters at night, as the US government has said, but against civilians, and that it burned their flesh "to the bone".

    The documentary by RaiNews24, the all-news channel of RAI state television, quoted ex-marine Jeff Englehart as saying he saw the bodies of burnt children and women after the bombardments.

    "Burned bodies. Burned children and burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately. It is a cloud that, within ... 150m of impact, will disperse and will burn every human being or animal."

    There have been several allegations that the US used outlawed weapons, such as napalm, in the Falluja offensive. On 9 November 2004, the Pentagon denied that any chemical weapons, including napalm, were used in the offensive.


    Abd al-Adhim Muhammad, an Aljazeera reporter in Baghdad who covered Falluja battles until the closure of Aljazeera offices in Iraq in September 2004, said there was a lot of talk inside Iraq about the use of non-conventional weapons by the US army in Iraq.


    "The amount of people who used to confirm to us that the US army had been using non-conventional weapons against Falluja city was enormous, but it was impossible to confirm," he said.


    Fallujans deserted their city in
    the November 2004 offensive

    "The city was sealed off and families left; so basically only the resisting fighters were inside the city. They were mostly denied admission into hospitals, so we could not verify the information from the medical fraternity, but yes everybody was saying that burned bodies were scattered on Falluja's streets."


    On its website, the US government has said it used phosphorus shells "very sparingly in Falluja, for illumination purposes". It noted that phosphorus shells were not outlawed.


    "They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters," the government statement said.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman on Tuesday said white phosphorus was a conventional weapon. He said he did not know if the US army used it in Falluja in 2004.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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