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Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2005

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Tuesday, March 1, 2005, 6:30pm Mecca time.

Iraqi Health Ministry confirms use by American occupation forces of internationally prohibited weapons in its attacks on al-Fallujah

Mafkarat al-Islam

Dr Khalid ash-Shaykhli, a representative of the Iraqi Ministry of Health who was authorized to assess health conditions in al-Fallujah after the end of the major battles there, announced that the surveys and studies which a medical team did in al-Fallujah and subsequently reported to the Ministry confirm that US forces used substances that are internationally prohibited -- including mustard gas, nerve gas, and other burning chemicals -- in the course of its attacks on the city.

Ash-Shaykhli held a press conference in the Health Ministry building in Baghdad's Bab al-Mu'azzam section on Tuesday. He began by reporting on the final results of the fact-finding mission's survey of the situation in which the people of al-Fallujah find themselves. He said that the city now is still experiencing the effects of chemical and other types of weapons used by the Americans, which will be causing serious diseases over the long term.

The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam asked ash-Shaykhli what were the facts regarding use by the occupation forces of limited nuclear weapons. Dr. ash-Shaykhli said,

"What I saw during our researches in al-Fallujah make me believe everything that has been said about that battle. I absolutely do not exclude their use of nuclear and chemical substances, since all forms of nature were wiped out in that city. I can even say that we found dozens, not to say hundreds, of stray dogs, cats, and birds that had perished as a result of those gasses."

During the press conference, which was attended by more than 20 Iraqi and Arab journalists, Ash-Shaykhli promised that he would be sending the study and the results that the committee produced to responsible bodies -- both Iraqi and international ones.

The press conference was attended by correspondents of the Iraqi ash-Sharqiyah television network, the Iraqi government-run al-'Iraqiyah satellite TV network, and the as-Sumariyah network, in addition to foreign media, such as the American Washington Post and the Knight-Ridder service and the Iraqi as-Sabah newspaper -- besides the correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam.

The findings disclosed at Tuesday's [Tuesday, March 1, 2005] press conference must be seen as the most serious statements to be made since the end of nearly four months of military operations in al-Fallujah, Mafkarat al-Islam noted. Mafkarat al-Islam was the first to report on the American occupation forces' use of gasses and burning and chemical substances during the first days after the outbreak of fighting in the city.

Translated by website special correspondent Eric Müller


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