White Phosphorus Use in Gaza: Amnesty International Uncovers Troubling Evidence

Amnesty International has unveiled worrying evidence pointing to the use of white phosphorus artillery shells by the Israeli military in densely populated civilian sectors of Gaza.

by Faruk Imamovic
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White Phosphorus Use in Gaza: Amnesty International Uncovers Troubling Evidence
© Getty Images News/Abid Katib

Amnesty International has unveiled worrying evidence pointing to the use of white phosphorus artillery shells by the Israeli military in densely populated civilian sectors of Gaza. This revelation comes after multiple attacks on civilians in Israel by Hamas and affiliated armed groups on October 7, prompting an intensive bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli forces.

A Dangerous Tool in Warfare

White phosphorus, primarily utilized to produce thick smoke screens or to pinpoint targets, is particularly worrisome due to its incendiary properties. Upon exposure to oxygen, it ignites and burns at exceedingly high temperatures.

Disturbingly, these phosphorus fires can persistently burn within human flesh, inflicting excruciating pain and causing grievous, often permanent, injuries. Moreover, traditional methods, such as dousing with water, prove ineffective in extinguishing it.

As per Amnesty International's Crisis Evidence Laboratory, authenticated videos and photos indicate that the Israeli military might have used white phosphorus munitions during these attacks. In a stark example, images captured on October 9 showed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) positioning M109 155 mm howitzers close to Sderot, a town located a mere kilometer from the Israel-Gaza border fence and previously targeted by Hamas.

US Munitions in Question?

Adding to the gravity of the situation, certain verified photographs depict M825 and M825A1 artillery shells bearing the marking D528, a code which the US Department of Defense (DODIC) assigns to white phosphorus-based rounds.

The M109 howitzers, equipped to fire these shells, boast a considerable range of 18-22km, putting a significant portion of northern Gaza at risk. Over the last few days, multiple video snippets have emerged suggesting the deployment of 155mm white phosphorus artillery shells across northern Gaza.

The Crisis Evidence Lab team has verified one such harrowing incident, pinpointing an attack on Gaza's harbor and its adjacent hotels.

While the full extent of casualties and damages remains unclear, the alleged use of white phosphorus in civilian-populated areas is a pressing concern for international human rights advocates.

As the global community awaits further details, the situation underscores the ever-present need for vigilance and scrutiny in areas of conflict to safeguard innocent lives.

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