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Amnesty: Coalition using white phosphorus in Mosul

Amnesty International has confirmed "credible reports" that white phosphorus munitions have been used in the battle to recapture Mosul from Daesh militants, placing civilian lives at extreme risk of injury or death.

Amnesty cited a New York Times photographer who provided them with images of white phosphorus rounds being deployed around the Assyrian Christian town of Karemlesh, not far from Mosul, Iraq's second city and Daesh's last major urban stronghold.

Other villagers living in the vicinity of Mosul also confirmed sighting use of white phosphorus, a highly flammable chemical munition that can burn through skin, muscle and bone.

Although Amnesty had no information as to who deployed these munitions, it did identify that the dispersal pattern appeared to resemble US-made 155mm M825A1 projectiles. According to the human rights organisation, these munitions eject 116 wedges of white phosphorus over an area of up to 250 metres wide.

This means that either the US-led coalition used them, or else the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) or Kurdish Peshmerga did, all of whom receive arms supplies from the United States.

The Times reported that they did not immediately receive a response from the international coalition about who may have deployed white phosphorus.

The use of white phosphorus as an obscurant to cover troop movements is legal under the laws of war, but should be deployed with caution as it is illegal to use them in civilian areas or against civilian targets.

White phosphorus munitions were used to deadly effect during the Israeli Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, as well as by US forces assaulting Fallujah in 2004. Horrific images emerged from Iraq at the time, showing the charred remains of people burnt to death by white phosphorus.

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Amnesty InternationalInternational OrganisationsIraqMiddle EastNews
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