Hamas Says More Babies Born With Birth Defects Since Cast Lead

Islamist group's health ministry says 'illegal IDF ordnance' caused higher numbers of birth defects.

The Hamas Health Ministry is claiming that since the Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza last winter, a higher percentage of children have been born with birth defects, the Ma'an news agency has reported.

According to Dr. Muweiyah Hassenein, head of the ministry's ambulance and emergency department, "we have found cases among newborn babies involving heart defects and brain abnormalities."

The report, which was published by Ma'an in September, quotes Hassenein as saying that the higher number of birth defects is a result of "Israel's use of internationally prohibited weapons against the civilians of Gaza."

According to the Ma'an article, some researchers have alleged "Israel used the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) as well, which could cause biological effects on fetuses."

The ministry says they haven't received confirmation that IDF ordnance caused the birth defects, and that the group is waiting for the results of examinations performed in European labs.