Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gaza: UN bomb disposal units destroy two UXOs containing white phosphorus

UN - Special United Nations bomb disposal units today successfully destroyed two unexploded ordnance (UXO) containing white phosphorus in the Gaza Strip, the first of a series of planned activities to be conducted in the region over the coming months.

The UXO are the remains of Operation Cast Lead, the three-week military operation started at the end of 2008 against Hamas by the Israeli Government.

“I am proud of United Nations mine action efforts today,” said Max Kerley, Director of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). “Our specialist teams work tirelessly to remove unexploded ordnance and increase the safety of the people of Gaza,” he added.

International Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams – together with the UN Mines Advisory Group and relevant authorities in Israel and Gaza – destroyed two 155-millimetre UXO containing white phosphorus, UNMAS announced.

The UN has also been supporting key mine action response activities in the region, including assessing and neutralizing the threat of unexploded ordnance and providing coordination for explosive ordnance disposal teams.

Mine action staff has also provided safety awareness training to more than 1,500 personnel involved in UN, non-governmental organization (NGO) humanitarian activities within Gaza, and to the local population.

The work reduces the potential for death and injury and to support rubble removal, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing, infrastructure, agricultural land and livelihoods, UNMAS said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to visit Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following next week’s meeting in Moscow on the Middle East peace process.

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