Recent intelligence from the United States suggests a significant tactical shift in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, through a report described to CNN by sources familiar with its contents, has revealed that nearly half of the air-to-ground munitions utilized by Israel since October 7 in Gaza have been unguided.
This revelation is critical because unguided munitions, often termed "dumb bombs," lack the precision of their guided counterparts. According to the assessment, out of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions used, about 40-45% were unguided.
The use of these less accurate weapons in a densely populated area like Gaza is particularly concerning. Experts believe this could be a contributing factor to the increasing civilian casualties in the region.
Responses and Repercussions
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), when asked to comment, chose not to specify the types of munitions used.
IDF spokesperson Nir Dinar offered no elaboration to CNN. However, Major Keren Hajioff, another spokesperson for the Israeli military, emphasized Israel's commitment to international law and efforts to minimize civilian harm.
Major Hajioff highlighted the challenges posed by Hamas' tactics, which allegedly involve using civilians as human shields. The situation escalated when President Joe Biden referred to Israel's actions as “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza.
This statement underscores the growing international concern over the humanitarian impact of the conflict. Notably, Brian Castner, a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer and current senior crisis adviser at Amnesty International, expressed alarm at the reported scale of unguided munition use.
Castner's concerns are centered around the inherent inaccuracy of these weapons and the consequent risk of civilian harm, significantly when the target precision is vital.
“It’s bad enough to be using the weapons when they are precisely hitting their targets.
It is a massive civilian harm problem if they do not have that accuracy, and if you can’t even give a benefit of the doubt that that the weapon is actually landing where the Israeli forces intended to,” Castner added.
The use of unguided munitions in such a densely populated environment as Gaza raises profound ethical and legal questions. It also potentially undermines the Israeli military's claims of aiming to minimize civilian casualties.
This situation poses a challenge not only to Israel's tactics but also to the broader international community, which is increasingly vocal about the need for restraint and adherence to humanitarian principles in conflict zones.