US White Phosphorus Shells Used by Israel in Lebanon Attack: Report

US White Phosphorus Shells Used by Israel in Lebanon Attack: Report

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Israel employed controversial US-supplied white phosphorus munitions during an attack on Dheira, a southern Lebanese village, as per an analysis by the Washington Post based on recovered shell fragments.

The incident unfolded on October 16, when the Israeli military directed artillery fire towards the village. Investigating the aftermath, a reporter uncovered remnants of three 155-mm artillery shells discharged into Deira. The assault resulted in the destruction of at least four homes and caused injuries to at least nine civilians.

The shells identified as so-called 'smoke' or 'marker' M825 rounds, containing felt wedges soaked in white phosphorus that auto-ignites on exposure to air, generating dense white smoke. While this smoke is valuable for obscuring troop movements, its toxicity and the incendiary nature of white phosphorus – which is hard to extinguish – pose significant risks if used without adequate precautions.

According to the Washington Post's findings, the recovered shell fragments bore production codes aligning with the nomenclature used by the US military for domestically produced munitions. These shells, marked with 'WP' inscriptions and displaying a light green body color, were traced back to ammunition depots in Louisiana and Arkansas, manufactured in 1989 and 1992, consistent with standard-issue US white phosphorus rounds.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International confirmed the US origin of the shells, with the latter urging an investigation into the incident as a potential war crime. Tirana Hassan, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, emphasized the need for US officials to reconsider military aid to Israel in light of these findings. “The fact that US-produced white phosphorus is being used by Israel in south Lebanon should be of great concern to US officials. (Congress) should take reports of Israel’s use of white phosphorus seriously enough to reassess US military aid to Israel,” Hassan told the newspaper in a written statement.

The White House responded to the matter, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressing concerns while reaffirming white phosphorus's legitimate military applications for illumination and smoke production. Kirby indicated a commitment to delve deeper into the issue, highlighting the expectation that any white phosphorus supplied would be utilized in accordance with international laws governing armed conflict.

One of the recovered shells appears to belong to the same batch used by Israel during its 2009 Gaza campaign, despite prior pledges to transition to less destructive smoke rounds. Recent data suggests Israel has employed these shells over 60 times in Lebanon's border area within the last two months, as reported by the Washington Post citing ACLED, a war monitor group.

Aside from that, videos circulating online suggest that white phosphorus munitions were actively used in Gaza, with multiple videos matching the distinctive airburst pattern of such rounds.

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