US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah
By Peter Popham
Independent" -- -- Powerful new evidence emerged
yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white
phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the
city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the
appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.
Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western
journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical
weapons on the city.
On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops
are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its
large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a
grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in
The website quoted insurgent sources as saying: "The US occupation
troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with
internationally banned chemical weapons."
In December the US government formally denied the reports,
describing them as "widespread myths". "Some news accounts have
claimed that US forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in
Fallujah," the USinfo website said. "Phosphorus shells are not
outlawed. US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for
"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at
night, not at enemy fighters."
But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs
and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in
the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus
shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.
In a documentary to be broadcast by RAI, the Italian state
broadcaster, this morning, a former American soldier who fought at
Fallujah says: "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 done for."
Photographs on the website of RaiTG24, the broadcaster's 24-hours
news channel, www.rainews24.it, show exactly what the former soldier
means. Provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah,
dozens of high-quality, colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah
residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely
intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned
the consistency of leather by the shells.
A biologist in Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, interviewed for the film,
says: "A rain of fire fell on the city, the people struck by this
multi-coloured substance started to burn, we found people dead with
strange wounds, the bodies burned but the clothes intact."
The documentary, entitled Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, also
provides what it claims is clinching evidence that incendiary bombs
known as Mark 77, a new, improved form of napalm, was used in the
attack on Fallujah, in breach of the UN Convention on Certain
Conventional Weapons of 1980, which only allows its use against
Meanwhile, five US soldiers from the elite 75th Ranger Regiment have
been charged with kicking and punching detainees in Iraq.
The news came as a suicide car bomber killed four American soldiers
at a checkpoint south of Baghdad yesterday.
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