(source: Press TV)
UK defense secretary says American and British forces used depleted uranium (DU) ammunitions during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"UK forces used about 1.9 metric tons of depleted uranium ammunition in the Iraq war in 2003," UK Defense Secretary Liam Fox said in a written reply to the House of Commons on Thursday, the Kuwait News Agency reported.
The announcement came after a joint study by the environment, health and science ministries in Iraq said there were communities near the cities of Najaf, Basra and Fallujah with increased rates of cancer and birth defects over the past five years. More than 40 sites across Iraq are contaminated with high levels of radiation and dioxins.
Fox said the Ministry of Defense provided the coordinates of targets attacked using DU ammunition to the UN Environmental Program. "They also exchanged information with humanitarian and other organizations; and warned Iraqis through signs and leaflets that they should not go near or touch any debris they find on the former battlefield," he claimed.
The use of depleted uranium ammunition is widely controversial because of potential long-term health effects. It is reported that the US and Britain used up to 2,000 tons of these ammunitions during the Iraq war.
The World Health Organization is now investigating the rising number of birth defects, which Iraqi doctors attribute to the use of chemical weapons and depleted uranium ammunition during the war.
Iraqi doctors say they’ have been struggling to cope with the rise in the number of cancer cases, especially in cities subjected to heavy US and British bombardment. Iraq’s Ministry for Human Rights is expected to file a lawsuit against Britain and the US over their use of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq.
The ministry will seek compensation for the victims of these weapons.
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