Wednesday, November 16, 2005

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq probes US phosphorus weapons

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq probes US phosphorus weapons: "Italian TV station Rai alleged last week that the US had used phosphorus against built-up areas, and that civilians were killed.

The report sparked fury among Italian anti-war protesters, who demonstrated outside the US embassy in Rome.

Phosphorus burns on the skin are deep and painful

The US initially said white phosphorus had been used only to illuminate enemy positions, but now admits it was used as a weapon.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract that denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

A Pentagon spokesman, Lt Col Barry Venable, confirmed to the BBC the US had used white phosphorus 'as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants' - though not against civilians, he said.

He said earlier denials had been based on 'poor information'."

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