IDF to stop using white phosphorus for smokescreens

April 26, 2013 11:31

Israel is phasing out white phosphorus munitions whose use to create smokescreens during its 2008-2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip drew international criticism, the military said on Friday.

The army statement did not say whether Israel also planned to review its use of weaponized white phosphorus, which is designed to incinerate enemy positions.

While legal when fired to mask troop movements on battlefields, white phosphorus poses a fire risk. Images of its embers and ash endangering Palestinian civilians prompted Israel to rethink its use. One army general was eventually disciplined over misuse of the munitions in Gaza.

Smokescreen artillery shells containing white phosphorus "are to be removed from active duty soon" and replaced by Israeli-developed alternatives "based completely on gas" around a year from now, the military said, without giving details.

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