Nearly half of Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are ‘unguided bombs’: CNN

Ahram Online , Thursday 14 Dec 2023

Nearly half of the air-to-ground munitions that Israel used in its war on Gaza since 7 October were unguided, otherwise known as “dumb bombs,” CNN reported citing a new US intelligence assessment.

Gaza
Palestinians check the destruction following Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on December 12, 2023. AFP

 

The assessment, compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and described to CNN by three sources who have seen it, says that about 40-45 percent of the 29,000 air-to-ground munitions Israel has used were unguided, while the rest were precision-guided munitions.

Unguided munitions are typically less precise and can pose a greater threat to civilians, especially in such a densely populated area like Gaza, CNN said.

US President Joe Biden, whose government has provided Israel with billions of dollars of military aid, on Wednesday gave his sharpest rebuke of the war yet, saying Israel's "indiscriminate bombing" of Gaza was weakening international support. 

Experts told CNN that if Israel is using unguided munitions at the rate the US believes they are, this undercuts the Israeli claim that they are trying to minimize civilian casualties.  

“I’m extremely surprised and concerned,” Brian Castner, a former Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer who now serves as Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser on arms and military operations, told CNN.  

“It’s bad enough to use the weapons when they precisely hit 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 landing where the Israeli forces intended to,” Castner added.

White phosphorus bombs
 

In the initial days of the war, Human Rights Watch reported that Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon in late October attacks, which is considered a war crime, according to rights groups. 

A video of what appears to be white phosphorus released over Gaza City has been separately verified as authentic by The Washington Post.

Evidence indicated that Israel used air-bursting white phosphorus projectiles, which spread 116 burning wedges of the substance over an area between 410 and 820 feet in diameter, Human Rights Watch said. 

White phosphorus fire “causes severe burns, often down to the bone, that are slow to heal and likely to develop infections,” the group added. 

“The use of white phosphorus in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, magnifies the risk to civilians and violates the international humanitarian law prohibition on putting civilians at unnecessary risk,” the group said in its report, adding that this is a violation of international law. 

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