**Detailed Information and Investigative Text Available**
After almost a decade of war in Iraq, and a recent military disengagement by the USA, local doctors in the Sunni town of Fallujah, Al Anbar, are dealing with a mysterious spike in deformities and severe illnesses in children, following two violent US-led battles for the city in 2004.
Records at the general hospital indicate that around 15 per cent of newborns are presenting congenital defects. Parents in distress are questioning doctors for concrete explanations they are unable to provide.
The average elsewhere in the world is believed to be between 2 and 4 per cent.
According to a study carried out by Dr Chris Busby, professor at the University of Ulster, Belfast, a major mutagenic exposure must have occurred. After testing hair samples from 25 parents with affected children, the academic was able to trace high levels of enriched uranium, with concentration increasing rapidly as time went back towards 2004.
Under suspicion are new modern portable systems. (**Details Available**)
The UK government is presently facing a legal case at home, through 'Public Interest Lawyers', in Brighton, for its involvement in the second battle for Fallujah.
An official World Health Organization study, announced in 2010 but yet to begin, has to be completed by mid-2012, and it will assess the nature and number of birth defects.
Meanwhile, doctors in Fallujah are still waiting for foetal ultrasound equipment to perform essential prenatal tests and advice oblivious parents.
"Since 2004, life has been nothing but a struggle to survive. Eating, medicine, treatment. Nothing else on your mind. Our whole life just vanished. I can no longer laugh nor smile. Sometimes I imagine I was paralysed and they could walk. I'd rather have it this way."
Munem Adnan Abdullah, 38, father of four children, two of which, aged 4 and 5, are both severely handicapped and born after the 2004 battles.
January 8, 2011