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Doctor: Israel using new weapons against Gaza

Aug. 22, 2011 8:43 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2011 12:04 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The head of an emergency ward in a Gaza hospital said Monday that Israel was using new and more brutal weapons against the Gaza Strip, after a deadly attack Thursday in Israel.

Dr Ayman As-Sahbani, head of Shifa hospital's emergency ward, said patients were admitted with "horrific" injuries and some bodies arrived with burns which left them unrecognizable.

Israeli forces began a four-day bombardment Thursday killing 14 Palestinians and wounding dozens more in a series of airstrikes and drone strikes which followed an attack that killed eight Israeli citizens.

As-Sahbani said Israeli weapons made no distinction between women, children and the elderly, pointing out that a two-year-old toddler and a 13-year-old boy were among those killed in the latest escalation.

Some 45 unarmed civilians, including 14 children and 10 women, were being treated for injuries, he said adding that two minors sustained hideous shrapnel wounds and burns "all over their bodies."

On Sunday, Gaza Health Ministry official Adham Abu Salmiya also said that the extent of the injuries on some of the Palestinian victims raised questions about the type of weaponry being employed by Israeli forces.

The same day, Israel accused militant factions in Gaza of using deadlier weapons which violate international law, including a mortar shell that was found to have phosphorus on it, Israeli media reported.

The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli daily, reported that a message from the Israeli army's Twitter account said the projectile with phosphorus hit the Kerem Shalom land crossing.

It is "illegal to use [phosphorus] in inhabited areas," it said, according to the report.

(This version UPDATES with quotes from Health Ministry official Adham Abu Salmiya and quotes from the Israeli military spokesperson's office, according to Israeli media.)
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