Iran says Israel uses white-phosphorus, calls for probe
U.N. humanitarian affairs chief said a warehouse in a U.N. compound in Gaza that came under Israeli fire was apparently hit by white-phosphorus shells.
Iran said that Israel used white-phosphorus munitions in Gaza and called for an investigation in a letter to an international watchdog agency made available to media on Saturday.
The comment came after U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes on Thursday said a warehouse in a U.N. compound in Gaza that came under Israeli fire was apparently hit by white-phosphorus shells.
Human Rights Watch has also said that Israel used white phosphorus, which can be used as an incendiary weapon as well as making smoke screens or marking targets, during its offensive in Gaza launched in late December.
Western officials say white phosphorus is not specifically banned, but a 1983 international convention prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called, in a letter to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for an investigation "into the evidence of this tragedy" and the dispatch of aid to victims.
"It is becoming increasingly alarming that the Zionist regime's troops are employing prohibited weapons with impunity against the population of Gaza ... such as white phosphorus," Mottaki wrote to OPCW Director-General Rogelio Pfirter.
The Islamic Republic has condemned Israel's attacks in Gaza.
Israel has refused comment on the munitions it is using in Gaza, but its army confirmed in 2006 that it had used phosphorus shells during its war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
Tehran says it provides financial, humanitarian and moral support to Hamas and Gazans.
A senior Israeli official said on Saturday that Israel plans to halt its Gaza offensive without any agreement with Hamas. But no acceptatiom came about Hamas' demand such as withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gazan territory.
Reuters Last Mod: 17 Ocak 2009, 17:52