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White Phosphorus and its Use in Gaza

White Phosphorus being used by the Zionist Occupation Forces on the central UN compound in Gaza, Palestine - 15 January 2009.

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11 January 2009

Source: Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)

White Phosphorus (P4) is a waxy fat soluble colorless or slightly yellow solid with a garlic smell that is not naturally occurring but is produced in the laboratory.  It is highly reactive with oxygen (ignites spontaneously upon drying and exposure to air) producing compounds like P4O6 (phosphorus pentoxide) and P4O10 which upon contact with water becomes oxophosphoric
acids (alternatively direct reaction with water can lead to phosphoric acid H2PO4 through some intermediate compounds)

These properties have given it both civilian and military uses.  Its civilian uses include production of phosphoric acid and phosphate based fertilizers.  It is used by the military because it interacts with oxygen producing fire and smoke and can act both as a smokescreen, marking enemy areas and also to terrorize enemy combatants to leave fox holes and tunnels into more open areas where standard ammunition can be used on them. White phosphorous is a member of a class of incendiary weapons that includes such things as Continue reading

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