GAZA CITY – Doctors in Gaza have reported previously unseen injuries from Israeli weapons that cause severe burning and leave deep internal wounds, often resulting in amputations or death.
The injuries were first seen in July, after Israel launched operations in Gaza following the capture of an Israeli soldier by militants on the Gaza border.
The offensives are continuing months later, with Israeli troops killing four Palestinians in Gaza yesterday and tanks taking up positions around the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
About 250 Palestinians, roughly half of them civilians, have been killed in the operations, and medics have noted unusual wounds.
Doctors said that, unlike traditional combat injuries, there was no large shrapnel found in the bodies and there appeared to be a "dusting" on damaged internal organs.
"Bodies arrived severely fragmented, melted and disfigured," said Jumaa Saqa’a, a doctor at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City. "We found internal burning of organs, while externally there were minute pieces of shrapnel. When we opened many of the injured people we found dusting on their internal organs."
It is not clear whether the injuries come from a new weapon. The Israeli military declined to detail its weapons.
Doctors also found that patients who were stabilised after one or two days suddenly died. "The patient dies without any apparent scientific cause," Dr Saqa’a said.
Kamal Odwan hospital deputy director Saied Jouda found similar injuries. "We don’t know what it means — new weapons or something new added to a previous weapon."
© The Guardian, via the Age, October 19, 2006