BEIRUT — Lebanon's caretaker Minister of the Environment, Nasser Yassin, claimed on Thursday that "774 hectares of land, including 296 hectares of forest" were incinerated this summer as temperatures rose, before the Israeli army began on Oct. 8 to drop phosphorus bombs in southern Lebanon. The attacks by Israel are responsible for numerous forest fires, according to remarks reported by state-run National News Agency (NNA).
Israel's use of phosphorus has burned 460 hectares of forests and orchards, "which constitutes 37% of the areas affected by fires in 2023," the minister added.
The use of white phosphorus bombs by the Israeli army in southern Lebanon is causing a large number of fires, but also represents a danger to human health, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Health, which published recommendations in early November for the treatment of people affected by contact with this chemical.
Phosphorus bombs are incendiary weapons and their use is prohibited against civilians, but not against military targets, according to a convention signed in Geneva in 1980.
At the end of October, Lebanon instructed its UN mission to lodge a complaint against Israel, which it accuses of using white phosphorus in its strikes on southern Lebanon.
Throughout the escalation of the war in this region, Lebanese officials and NGOs, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused Israel of using white phosphorus.