War-related birth defects in Fallujah


Three-year-old Fatima Ahmed

Families in Fallujah are calling for an investigation into the rise of birth defects after the US used phosphorus over the Iraqi city in 2004.

They have raised concerns about the weapons used by American forces in 2004, including constant bombardment with uranium depleted artillery shells and other depleted uranium ammunition- when Fallujah suffered the heaviest blitze following the overthrow of the Saddam regime of the entire war in Iraq.

Hikmat Tawfeeq, deputy chairman of the Fallujah-based human rights group Al-akhiyar said: “We have around 200 cases of deformities recorded by our society. Most of these cases are birth deformities which have arisen after the bombing of Fallujah.”

Campaigners say officials are reluctant to speak out publicly because of US pressure but at Fallujah’s children’s hospital one doctor told Sky News in the past month she has seen one or two cases of birth deformities every day.

An opthalmologist said he deals with four or five cases of newborn babies every week suffering from some form of eye deformity.

At one of the cemeteries in Fallujah, undertaker Mahmoud Hummadi said he usually buries four to five bodies of newborns every day and most of them are deformed.

Fallujah today still bears the scars of a time when it represented the backbone of the Sunni insurgency – a power-base America decided it had to break.

April and November 2004 saw some of the heaviest bombardments of the war in Iraq, including the controversial use of white phosphorous.


Phosphorus over Fallujah in 2004

It is a highly flammable material which ignites when it comes into contact with oxygen, causing severe burns.

In a statement to Sky News the US military said it had used white phosphorus in Fallujah but primarily as a smokescreen and not as an incendiary weapon.

The families say doctors have raised concerns to them about what kinds of materials were used by the Americans in order to achieve their military goals.

Fatima Ahmed is three years old. Small and lifeless she barely moves, burdened by two heads on her tiny frame.

Her mother Shukriya says doctors have been unable to diagnose exactly what has caused Fatima’s condition.

But her father Jassim, when asked who he held responsible for his daughter’s condition, said: “It’s because of the war – it’s the flagrant aggression they launched against us. What they dropped in Fallujah God knows.”

MMA/HAR

Fri, 30 May 2008 02:18:44

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Source: Press TV

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