News Flash: Pentagon Used White Phosphorous in Iraq,
Pentagon officials acknowledged Tuesday that U.S. troops used white phosphorous as a weapon against insurgent strongholds during the battle of Fallujah last November. But they denied an Italian television news report that the spontaneously flammable material was used against civilians.
Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman, said that while white phosphorous is most frequently used to mark targets or obscure a position, it was used at times in Fallujah as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants.
As for previous government statements,
The State Department, in response, initially denied that U.S. troops had used white phosphorous against enemy forces. “They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters.”
The department later said its statement had been incorrect.