AFX November 23, 2005
Russian parliament condemns US use of phosphorus bombs in Iraq
MOSCOW (AFX) - The Russian parliament condemned today as 'absolutely unacceptable' the use last year by US forces in Iraq of toxic white phosphorus bombs, which it said was prohibited under international law.
'Deputies of the Duma consider the use, under cover of the noble aims of the fight against terrorism, of any type of weapon banned by international conventions, particularly phosphorus bombs, as absolutely unacceptable,' a statement adopted unanimously in the lower house read.
The measure was adopted after the Pentagon last week confirmed that the toxic agent had been used against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah last November, although it denied that civilians had been targeted.
'It's part of our conventional weapons inventory. We use it like we use any other conventional weapon,' Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in Washington.
His comments were in response to a documentary broadcast November 8 by Italy's RAI television network alleging that white phosphorous munitions had been used against both insurgents and civilians in the Sunni town of Fallujah in November 2004.
A yellowish substance with a pungent smell similar to garlic, white phosphorous erupts spontaneously into fire when exposed to oxygen, releasing a dense white smoke.
Incandescent particles of white phosphorus can cause deep, painful chemical burns, according to GlobalSecurity.Org, a Washington group that gathers information on military topics.
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