Israel completed its withdrawal from Gaza today, claiming victory but with its army facing war crimes accusations over indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, and the claimed use of controversial high-incendiary munitions.
The UN denounced what appeared to be white phosphorous shells in Gaza. It burns fiercely and, while not banned by international law, legal experts say its use in civilian areas could form part of war crimes charges. Egyptian doctor Mohammad al-Guniem is based in Gaza: “We strongly believe that non-conventional weapons have been used. There is abundant evidence that white phosphorous has been used, in addition to the so-called DIME bombs.” DIME bombs are experimental weapons which produce small but massively-powerful explosions. The Red Cross is also outraged: it rarely comments on conflicts to protect its neutrality, but said its humanitarian work in Gaza had been close to collapse after some of its staff and ambulances came under fire. In a third high-profile accusation, the International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating Arab claims that Israel used uranium-tipped shells during the assault. They are popular with the military because they easily penetrate tanks or armour, but critics say their residue is highly-toxic.