Is the US using white phosphorus in Iraq?



ISIS is claiming that U.S. forces have used white phosphorus in residential areas of Mosul, Iraq, raising concerns among human rights groups which say the application of the incendiary material against civilians may constitute a war crime.

"The enemies of Allah claimed that they don't use chemical substances or white phosphorus in Mosul, but you can see these remnants," said a masked militant in a video posted by the group on Saturday. On Amaq News agency, an official ISIS propaganda branch, ISIS vowed to carry out a chemical attack against U.S. forces as retribution.

An ISIS-affiliated channel on Telegram, moreover, claimed that 146 people were killed and 109 were injured as a result of white phosphorous shelling on Mosul over the past three days. The numbers could not be independently verified.

Caption: Video released by ISIS' Amaq News Agency allegedly showing White Phosphorus in a residential area in Mosul.

"Oh leaders of the Islamic State, your supporters around the world ask you to attack the Crusaders and Shiites with a chemical weapon and exterminate them," wrote a prominent user on al-Minbar, a leading online forum used by ISIS supporters. Another user there shared a manual for creating chlorine gas at home, which he said should be used against "the infidels."

White phosphorus is a self-igniting weapon that can be used as a smoke screen to mask the movement of forces on the ground, mask the origins of fire, or can be used to signal to other troops.

According to international law, the use of the material is forbidden in civilian areas, since it can also cause severe, thermal and chemical burns when it comes into contact with the flesh. It can burn the skin down to the bone. Amnesty International has classified its use inside, or in the vicinity of, civilian areas as an indiscriminate attack and a possible war crime.

However, the potential attacks on Mosul are not the first use of WP as an "incendiary weapon." Last October, ISIS claimed that several villages near Mosul were attacked with WP. The claim was backed up by Amnesty International, which reported having received credible witness accounts and photographic evidence of white phosphorus projectiles fired over an area north of the village of Karemlesh, about 12 miles east of Mosul.

Previously, the U.S. used WP as an "incendiary weapon" during the battle to reclaim the Iraqi city of Fallujah from al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in 2004. It was reported that the U.S had supplied Saudi Arabia with white phosphorus munitions in its war in Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have reclaimed around 30 percent of west Mosul from ISIS, local Iraqi senior commanders have told Reuters. Mosul was the most important ISIS stronghold in Iraq. Battles surrounding the city are the largest U.S. offensive in Iraq since the American invasion in 2003.

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Inside the sheer terror of the front line of Mosul
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Inside the sheer terror of the front line of Mosul
A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq March 4, 2017. Reuters Photographer Goran Tomasevic: "Both screaming in terror, a father and the young daughter he cradled in his arm fled through the rubble-strewn streets of Wadi Hajar, transformed in a flash into a battleground between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi special forces. They and their neighbours - some wearing rubber sandals, some barefoot - were running from an IS counter-attack in this part of Mosul, dodging gunfire as the militants closed in. When they reached the special forces lines, males were ordered to lift their shirts to prove they weren't suicide bombers. Some had to take off their clothes or show their belts, though not those carrying children. The father was so beside himself, so panicked. It was obvious because he had a short shirt on and was carrying a child that he wasn?t Islamic State. I believe they will both be taken to a refugee camp." REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic SEARCH "TOMASEVIC FATHER" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier helps a family carry their child to cross from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at a drone operated by Islamic State militants Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi family walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Men and woman cry while carrying a child as they run from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An Iraqi special forces soldier checks men for explosive belts as they cross from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi special forces soldiers walk in a street in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A woman cries after crossing from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul to Iraqi forces controlled part of Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man runs from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi policemen walk during an airstrike against Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man gestures as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man cries while he carries his daughter as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man cries while carrying his daughter as he walks from Islamic State controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Picture taken March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
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The post Is The U.S. Using White Phosphorus In Iraq? appeared first on Vocativ.

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