The United Nations Environment Programme is investigating allegations, first published in The Independent, that Israel may have used uranium-based weapons during this summer's war in Lebanon. Twenty UN experts, working with Lebanese environmentalists, have spent two weeks assessing various samples. They are planning to report their findings in December.
Butros al-Harb, Unep's Middle East director, told a Lebanese radio interviewer at the weekend: "If uranium was used, we will find out and we will announce it. We cannot confirm anything now, but we will wait for results."
Yesterday Israel issued its most explicit denial yet. Major Avital Leibovitz, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defence Forces, said: "We deny using any weapons containing uranium." One official suggested that if the environmentalists had indeed found traces of uranium, they would have to look for a different explanation.
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