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Birth defects rise in Fallujah

9th March 2010

In the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the rate of birth defects is now 13 times higher than in Europe.


In the minds of Iraqis, there is no doubt that the US military is directly responsible.

A few years ago, US troops used weapons banned by the UN on the citizens of Fallujah in attacks that destroyed more than half of the city's homes.

One year after the city was attacked by US forces in 2004, a documentary broadcast on Italian state television alleged that the weapons used in US strikes may have included white phosphorus.

New information, including photographs and interviews with American soldiers, confirmed that the US military had lied about using massive quantities of white phosphorus on Fallujah's residents.

The use of other banned weapons, as well as the controversial use of depleted uranium shells, could be responsible for the birth defects in Fallujah.

At least 1,000 tonnes of depleted uranium were used by US forces in Iraq in 2003.

Military spokesman Michael Kilpatrick said that no studies to date had indicated the emergence of specific health issues among residents of Fallujah.

Samira al-Ani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, said that there were several new cases of birth defects every day, and that there were year-on-year increases there.

People at the hospital said privately that the Iraqi government does not want to seem out of line with the American government by telling the truth about the birth defects.

And while no studies have been done, Fallujah officials have warned women not to get pregnant.

All three children in a house in the neighbourhood of al-Julan, where the American resistance was focused, suffered from birth defects.

The two brothers were partially paralysed and the sister had serious brain damage.

A girl from the same area, whose house had been hit by an American shell, had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

According to the Iraqi government, there is not currently any problem in Fallujah and the number of birth defects there is in line with the Iraqi national average.


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