Related: US "used" chemical weapon on Falluja civilians: report
BEIJING, Nov. 17 -- US has acknowledged using incendiary white phosphorus munitions in a 2004 offensive in the Iraqi city of Fallujah but defended their use as legal.
Italian state-run broadcaster RAI reported early this month that US military froces in Iraq used incendiary white
phosphorus against men, women and children in Fallujah, who were burned to the
Army Lt Col
Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, admited Wednesday that phosphorus was
indeed "used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants."
|"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts
the flesh all the way down to the bone ..." a former US
soldier told Italian
The Pentagon insisted civilians had not been
targeted, however, and that it had avoided unnecessary casualties by evacuating
the city before the offensive.
Washington's new position is that phosphorus is "not
a chemical weapon" and "not outlawed or illegal".
White phosphorus munitions are primarily used by the
US military to make smoke screens and mark targets, but also as an incendiary
weapon, the Pentagon says.
In a documentary broadcast early this month, a
former American soldier who fought at Fallujah said: "I heard the order to pay
attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In
military jargon it's known as Willy Pete."
"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh
all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children.
Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is
The use of incendiary weapons against civilians has
been banned by the Geneva Convention since 1980.