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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Israel admits phosphorus bombing
Israel soldiers and tank
Israel fought Hezbollah in Lebanon in July and August
Israel has for the first time admitted it used controversial phosphorus shells during fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July and August.

Cabinet minister Jacob Edery confirmed the bombs were dropped "against military targets in open ground".

Israel had previously said the weapons were used only to mark targets.

Phosphorus weapons cause chemical burns and the Red Cross and human rights groups say they should be treated as chemical weapons.

The Geneva Conventions ban the use of white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas.

Hospitals

Mr Edery says he confirmed during a parliamentary session last week on behalf of Defence Minister Amir Peretz that the weapons were used in fighting.

"The Israeli army made use of phosphorus shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground," he said.

No information was given on when, where or how the shells were used.

Lebanon had accused Israel of using the weapons but at the time Israeli officials said they were only for marking.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said in late July: "According to the Geneva Convention, when they use phosphorus bombs and laser bombs, is that allowed against civilians and children?"

Doctors in hospitals in southern Lebanon had said they suspected some of the burns they were seeing were being caused by phosphorus bombs.

Israeli forces said the arms used in Lebanon did not contravene international norms.




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