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Israel: Hamas fires phosphorus shell
By IAN DEITCH
Associated Press
2009-01-15 02:30 AM
Hamas militants on Wednesday fired a phosphorus shell from the Gaza Strip into Israel for the first time, Israeli police said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the mortar shell exploded in a field near the border town of Sderot Wednesday evening. There were no casualties.

Human Rights Watch says Israel has illegally used phosphorus shells, which illuminate targets at night or create a smoke screen for day attacks, against populated areas in Gaza.

Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch said of the reported phosphorus attack on Israel: "If this is true, then we harshly condemn it just like we condemn Qassam and mortar attacks on Israel."

Phosphorus shells can burn anything they touch. Israeli says it uses munitions in line with international law.

Israel launched an offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza on Dec. 27 in an attempt to end years of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.

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