As sporadic clashes continue between Palestinian rioters and security forces in the West Bank, the IDF’s Central Command announced the introduction of nonlethal sponge-tipped bullets as a riot dispersal tool, that should replace rubber bullets by the end of the year.

The announcement came after the Central Command launched a pilot program in which the new type of bullets were tested. Maj. Yuval Yaron, head of the Central Command’s arms and technology branch, said the bullets were being examined by the IDF’s chief medical officer.

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“The advantage is that it’s safe even from a close range. It’ll come into service by the end of 2013,” Yaron said this week.

The Central Command is also set to introduce a protective suit to soldiers serving in the West Bank, that will protect them against blows, rocks and stick attacks. The equipment is designed to defend the soldier’s shoulders, back, chest, groin, thighs and shins. Special gloves to protect palms against knife slashes will also be introduced.

Thousands of protective suits are set to be received in the coming days.

Elite units operating in the West Bank are also due to receive GPS systems to assist them when they maneuver in the field.
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