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Iraq demands UK compensation for Gulf War 28 May 1998 BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq Wednesday demanded compensation from Britain over its use of depleted uranium shells in the Gulf War. Britain said it had not been given details of the claim and had not seen any evidence to suggest that the shells were to blame for illnesses reported by people living in southern Iraq. Depleted uranium is used to harden ammunition, making it highly effective in piercing tank armor. It is not seen as a radioactive weapon, but it can be toxic. The Iraqi News Agency INA said the complaint relating to the activities of British forces in the 1991 war to eject Iraq from Kuwait was filed Tuesday by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The letter focused on "a new and additional admission" by the British Foreign Office on April 30 in an official statement that "British tanks used depleted uranium shells during the Gulf War on orders from the British Ministry of Defense." "This new admission asserts previous confirmations made by official and unofficial British and U.S. organizations that the coalition troops committed annihilation crimes punishable by international law," the letter said. "Scientific studies and research have unequivocally shown that the United States and Britain used depleted uranium in their military operations against Iraq, exposing vast areas to fatal radioactive pollution." "A number of diseases, unfamiliar in the past, have been registered, such as fetal and bone deformities and other cases that cannot be explained, such as loss of hair and strange skin diseases. "Individuals living in the bombarded areas suffer from such diseases, in addition to rising cases of child leukemia," INA quoted the letter as saying. A spokesman for the British Defense Ministry said the government had not been approached by the Iraqis seeking compensation for damage caused by depleted uranium shells and had not been given details of any claim. The use of depleted uranium shells by British forces had been well-known since 1991, the spokesman said. "The government has seen no evidence that the ill health reported among the population of southern Iraq is a result of the use of depleted uranium shells," the spokesman added. Britain would, however, consider any medical evidence on the subject. Britain is believed to have fired fewer than 100 depleted uranium rounds, according to British media reports. British troops were part of the U.S.-led allied coalition that drove invading Iraqi troops from Kuwait. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html