IDF to halt use of white phosphorus
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IDF to halt use of white phosphorus

Israeli military’s firing of shells containing the chemical drew heavy criticism from the UN and international community

An artillery piece in the north of Israel firing a shell in a 2006 drill. (Illustrative photo: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90)
An artillery piece in the north of Israel firing a shell in a 2006 drill. (Illustrative photo: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90)

Israel’s army says it will soon halt its use of white phosphorus shells, after years of international criticism for using the munitions.

The army said in a statement on Thursday that it would replace white phosphorus shells with ones based entirely on gas. Officials didn’t offer further details, nor did they give a specific date for when they would retire the shells.

Israel came under heavy criticism after the three-week winter war in Gaza in 2008 and 2009 against the territory’s Hamas terror leadership for using white phosphorous shells. During the conflict, shells were used near a UN warehouse where more than 700 Palestinians were sheltering.

White phosphorus can be used legally in some battlefield situations; Israel’s use of it during the 2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza drew war-crimes allegations from the UN.

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