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Robert Fisk: Mystery of Israel's secret uranium bomb |
Published: 28 October 2006
Read the full report in the link.
Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this summer in the 34-day
assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives, most of them civilians?
We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on Hizbollah's Beirut headquarters.
We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war,
leaving tens of thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week. And we
now know - after it first categorically denied using such munitions - that the Israeli army also used
phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be restricted under the third protocol of the
Geneva Conventions, which neither Israel nor the United States have signed.
But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of
fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that
uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were
used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of
the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or
guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further
examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry
of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.
Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination.
"The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or
other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of
a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting
conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than
depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds
of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.
* The "tens of thousands" refers to what still lie unexploded from the 1,200,000
bomblets dropped in school playgrounds, apartment complexes, farm land
roadside scrub areas, in fact anywhere where children play and adults work. These
bomblets will lie unexploded for over a decade.
[ Last edited by christopher_104 at 2006-11-1 09:14 AM ]