Italian researchers say toxic materials found in Gaza soil after war

13:15, December 18, 2009      

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The Gaza Strip's soil contains poisonous and cancer-causing materials due to weapons Israel used during its major offensive in the territory nearly a year ago, Italian specialists said Thursday.

The weapons Israel used in the Operation Cast Lead from Dec. 27to Jan. 18 left traces that could not be seen neither by unaided eyes nor equipment in Gaza hospitals and it is difficult to recognize them, said Professor Paola Manduca, a geneticist from the University of Rome.

She made the remarks to a seminar in Gaza over a video conference link.

Manduca said the researchers had reached those findings in coordination with other organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

Another Italian scientist said other harmful elements were found such as the molybdenum and tungsten which cause cancer and affect the fertility.

The Italian scientists called for applying medical checkups to the residents of the war-torn areas in the Gaza Strip.

About 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the large-scale offensive in which Israel reportedly used white phosphorus shells against populated areas.

Bassem Na'im, health minister of the deposed Hamas government in Gaza, said the Italian specialists were brave "to declare their findings, unlike many other experts who visited Gaza and did not dare to announce their results."

Source: Xinhua
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