The Israeli army dropped phosphorus bombs against Hezbollah guerrilla targets in Lebanon during the war there this summer, an Israeli cabinet minister said Sunday, confirming Lebanese allegations for the first time.
Until now, Israel had said it only used the weapons— which cause severe chemical burns — to mark targets or territory, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
But Cabinet Minister Jacob Edery said he confirmed during a parliamentary query session last week that Israel used the weapons during August fighting against Hezbollah. Edery said he was speaking on behalf of Defence Minister Amir Peretz.
“The Israeli army holds phosphorus munitions in different forms,” Edery said. “The Israeli army made use of phosphorous shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground.”
[Israel has also drawn wide criticism for the massive use of cluster bombs in the closing days of the conflict.]
Edery did not specify where or against what types of targets the phosphorus bombs were used.
Edery said international law does not ban the use of such weapons. However, many international human rights groups, including the Red Cross, have pushed to ban phosphorus weapons.