Analysis of shell pieces recovered in a small town suggests that Israel used white phosphorus bombs provided by the United States in an assault in southern Lebanon in October. This strike harmed at least nine people and, according to a rights organization, should be investigated as a war crime.
According to locals, three 155mm artillery rounds destroyed four houses in Dheira, which is close to the Israeli border. A journalist from The Washington Post discovered their fragments. As they fire, the rounds release felt wedges drenched with white phosphorus, which, when burned at high temperatures, creates billowing smoke that scatters over a large area, making it difficult to see troop movements. It is often forbidden near civilian areas under international humanitarian law because of its sticky nature, which may cause skin burns and respiratory problems, some of which can be deadly.
Israel attacked Dheira, injuring nine people. Three people were hospitalized, with one spending days in the hospital.
The use of U.S.-supplied white phosphorous by Israel in October has Washington “concerned,” according to White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.
According to Monday’s Washington Post story, nine people were hurt when Israeli troops used artillery rounds that included the element in their combat operations along the southern border of Lebanon from October 10th to the 16th.
The chemical white phosphorus is not considered a chemical weapon on a global scale, even though it ignites when exposed to oxygen.
While white phosphorous has its use in warfare—for example, to cover vast regions with smoke—its deployment in civilian areas might be considered a violation of international law.
White phosphorus rounds were used for smokescreen creation rather than offensive goals, according to an Israeli army statement.
There is some ambiguity in international law regarding the use of the compound in incendiary weapons, and human rights organizations have vigorously attacked Israel for what they see as its use of the material in these weapons.
Kirby drew attention to the substance’s “legitimate military purpose” while pointing out that the United States supplies it to other nations “with the full assumption” that they would adhere to regulations pertaining to combat.