IDF to phase out flammable white phosphorus shells

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s military said it would stop using shells containing the highly flammable material white phosphorus.

The Israel Defense Forces made the announcement on April 26, the New York Times reported.

Phosphorus generally is used to set up a smoke screen to hide troop movement. The material can cause serious burns.

Israel was accused of using white phosphorus during the month-long Gaza war that began in December 2008. Its use in unpopulated areas to mask troop movement is not illegal under international law; however, several Palestinian civilians allegedly were severely burned by white phosphorus shells during the Gaza war, according to Palestinian human rights groups.

The white phosphorus shells will be phased out over the next year and replaced with a gas, the New York Times reported, citing the IDF.

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