‘Tungsten bombs’ leave Israel’s victims with mystery wounds
Call for war crimes investigation into veteran doctor’s evidence of new weapon being deployed
By Raymond Whitaker
Sunday, 18 January 2009
A Palestinian woman with severe facial injuries from a Dime bomb
What are these?
Israel was facing demands for war crimes investigations last night as officials said it was preparing a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, after a 22-day assault in which more than 1,200 Palestinians, a third of them children, were killed and 13 Israelis died.
Two children were killed yesterday when Israeli tanks shelled a UN school in which families were sheltering, leading a UN spokesman, Chris Gunness, to say: “There has to be an investigation to determine whether a war crime has been committed.” But among numerous allegations of disproportionate use of force, questions are also multiplying about the use of unconventional weapons by Israel, including a new type of bomb causing injuries that doctors have not seen before, and which they find impossible to treat.
Erik Fosse, a Norwegian doctor who has worked in Gaza hospitals during the conflict, told The Independent on Sunday yesterday that Israel was using so-called Dime bombs designed to produce an intense explosion in a small space. The bombs are packed with tungsten powder, which has the effect of shrapnel but often dissolves in human tissue, making it difficult to discover the cause of injuries.
Dr Fosse said he had seen a number of patients with extensive injuries to the lower part of the body. “It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wounds,” he said. “Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before.” However, the injuries matched photographs and descriptions in medical literature of the effects of Dime bombs; the acronym stands for dense inert metal explosive.
“All the patients I saw had been hit by bombs fired from unmanned drones,” said Dr Fosse, head of the Norwegian Aid Committee. “The bomb hit the ground near them and exploded.”
His colleague, Mads Gilbert, accused Israel of using the territory as a testing ground for a new, “extremely nasty” type of explosive. “This is a new generation of small explosive that detonates with extreme power and dissipates its power within a range of five to 10 metres,” he said.
According to military databases, Dime bombs are intended for use where conventional weapons might kill or injure bystanders – to kill combatants in a house, for example, without harming people next door. Instead of being made from metal, which sprays shrapnel across a wide area, the casing is carbon fibre. Part of the motive for developing the bombs was to replace the use of depleted uranium, but Dr Fosse said the cancer risk from the use of tungsten powder was well known. “These patients should be followed up to see if there are any carcinogenic effects,” he said.
While the loudest controversy has been over accusations that white phosphorus was illegally used, other foreign doctors working in Gaza have reported injuries they cannot explain. Professor Mohammed Sayed Khalifa, a cardiac consultant from Sudan, told the IoS that two of his patients had had uncontrollable bleeding. “One had a chest operation, and continued bleeding even after having been given large quantities of plasma,” he said. “The other had what seemed to be a minor leg injury, but collapsed with profuse bleeding. Something was interfering with the clotting process. I have never seen such a thing before.”
Dr Ahmed Almi, an Egyptian cardiothoracic consultant at al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, said he had seen a number of patients with inexplicable injuries. A 14-year-old boy had a small puncture wound in his head, but extensive damage to his brain, making it impossible to save his life. “I don’t know the nature or type of these weapons that make a very small [entry wound] and go on and make massive destruction in the tissues,” he said.
Israeli military representatives have refused to confirm or deny using specific weapons, but insist that all Israel’s weapons comply with international law. Neither white phosphorus nor Dime bombs are illegal in themselves, but campaigners say that the way they have been used, especially in Gaza’s densely packed urban areas, could constitute a war crime.
Last night Israel signalled that it would declare a unilateral ceasefire, so as not to leave Hamas with any gains from the conflict. Hamas leaders in exile vowed to fight on, but many of the 1.5 million Palestinians enduring incessant bombardment seemed desperate for their ordeal to end.
Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak urged Israel to end its Gaza operation immediately. He invited the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to discuss Gaza in Sharm el-Sheikh today. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he might attend, and Gordon Brown is among other leaders due to take party.
ATW’s comment: What is despicable is the fact the US, France and Britain are all eager to help this filthy Zionist nation in controlling arms smuggles into Gaza! They say nothing about such crimes! Imagine what was done to Iraq when Saddam was suspected of using WMD. Yet Israel is caught red-handed and no country has a conscience to even comment!
I can now relate to the Muslims statements that Israelis are the sons of monkeys and pigs! They sure are! If they were human, they would have had a bit of consideration towards civilians. They sure as hell don’t and thus, Hell awaits!