AMY GOODMAN: Let me go to Dr. Mads Gilbert, who has just returned from Gaza, the Shifa Hospital. He’s back in Norway right now. What did you see, in terms of the casualties, both when it comes to white phosphorus and also with this new weapon that you have been talking about called DIME?
DR. MADS GILBERT: I will answer that, but I think it’s important to understand that the most devastating weapon they are currently using is actually the siege of Gaza, which has been on for eighteen months, which means a lot of starvation, lack of food, water, power supplies, medicines, napkins, anything that people need to live. So it’s one-and-a-half million people who basically is now without their absolutely necessary means for living their lives, and that is, of course, illegal.
When it comes to the weaponry, we did not see clear evidence in patients that we received that they had been hit by white phosphorous, but we were told by the doctors and colleagues in Shifa that during the first days of the invasion, the ground invasion, they had seen this affecting as a side effect of the smokescreen use of the white phosphorus. And that was inhalation injuries, meaning that people have been breathing the phosphorus damp into their lungs, and burns. Also, by the end of our mission, when we left, there were fierce attacks in the south, and again the doctors in the European Hospital in South Gaza reported the same thing: burns and inhalation injuries. So it seems like my expert on the [inaudible] is right, that using such chemical means in so densely populated areas, as Gaza is, you will evidently have to affect also the civilians.
When it comes to the DIME weapons, we have seen a substantial number of amputations, where the amputees do not have shrapnel injuries. On the contrary, they have torn apart their legs, often one or two or even three limbs, their arm also. Some of them are beyond salvage, because the amputations are so high and so fierce that it also affects the lower part of the body. Some are survivable. But typical for these amputations is that there is no sign of metal fragments or shrapnel. It is only this very brutal amputations caused by some extreme power and small rice grain, rice, corn, pieces of some kind of substance, not metal, but—you know, the DIME weapon is a mixture of metals, nickel and cobalt, in a composite cast, not in a metal cast. And that’s explaining why you don’t see shrapnel.
The additional effect in animal studies on the DIME weapon is that the residuals in the muscle in mice will cause a very severe form of muscle cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, which easily spreads to the lungs. This remains to be shown.
I underline we don’t have proof, but we have strong evidence that these amputations we’ve been seeing in Gaza for the last eleven days must come from some type of weapon that we don’t know of.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain more fully these kinds of amputations, Dr. Gilbert?
DR. MADS GILBERT: You know, often, if you have a grenade amputation or an amputation from any kind of metal fragment, it will be more like you had a hatch or an ax or a huge knife that cut through your bone and the muscle. What we see in these suspected DIME amputations is that the whole limb is crushed in a way that must suggest some sort of immense power that has hit the lower part of the body. And we know that these small bombs, which the DIME bombs are, explodes in a way so that it will mainly affect the lower limbs. The limbs are—you will have multiple very severe fractures. The muscles are sort of split from the bones, hanging loose. And you also have quite severe burns where this energy wave has hit.
If you look at pictures from sites where these patients have come, you don’t see fragments in the walls in the house around, maybe fifteen, twenty meters apart from the explosions. And you see only some stripes of power in the sand on the ground, and these actually are the examples that the power dissipates very quickly, maybe within five or ten meters of the explosion, so that you will not have this kind of collateral damage, as it’s called. But in Gaza, again, so densely populated, that these DIME weapons will have a devastating effect. Also, they are, by some, classified as nuclear weapons.
The condition in Shifa Hospital and in the other hospitals in Gaza is horrifying. I’ve been to Gaza for the last ten years, in and out, teaching and training people in the medical field. I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean, all windows in the Shifa Hospital are out, due to the bombing of the mosque across the street. They have very unstable electricity. They lack supplies, disposables, surgical equipment, trolleys, beds even. They have a fantastic staff, who are working heroically to save their patients, but we have been doing surgery with, almost regularly, two patients in each OR, on the wall, on the floor, in the corridors. The lifts are barely working. The ICU had to triple its capacity with makeshift ICUs.
It is really, truly a scene from Dante’s Inferno. It is these loads of patients coming in. We had 120, 130 patients coming a day, children, women. And I would say approximately 90 percent—I repeat, 90 percent—of the killed and injured that we have seen are civilians. Up ’til yesterday, 971 people have been killed; of them, one of three is a child below eighteen. 4,500 injuries, as of yesterday at 4:00; among them, every second is a woman or a child. So this is really targeting civilian Palestinian population. And we had a large number of pediatric cases with head injuries, with complicated fractures—