Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gaza doctors encounter "unexplained injuries"

Independent Online Edition > Middle East:
"Doctors in Gaza are reporting what they say are unexplained injuries among the dead and wounded in operations by the Israeli military, which have killed more than 200 Palestinians in the past nine weeks.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is considering whether there is a case for an investigation into the injuries amid suspicions by the medics that the injuries were inflicted by what they claim may have been unidentified 'non-conventional' weapons.

Beside especially severe burning 'down to the bones', the doctors say that, in other cases, internal organs have been ruptured without any obvious sign of shrapnel wounds.

While a report from the Hamas-run Ministry of Health said the injuries raised the possibility Israel could be using 'unprecedented' projectiles with 'radiant' substances, the medics acknowledge that there is no proof so far of their claims. They also admit that the difficulty of establishing the exact cause of death is greatly exacerbated by the reluctance of most bereaved Palestinian families to allow autopsies.

Dr Juma al Saqqa, the director of public relations at Shifa Hospital, said the type of injuries presented by some victims were 'very strange' and added: 'We think this should be studied. In some cases we have opened the abdomen and found very fragmented organs.' He said this was despite X-rays showing no shrapnel lodged in the patients' bodies. He said one, unsubstantiated suggestion by sympathetic doctors consulted in Italy was that some injuries might have been caused by phosphorus."


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