The International Committee of the Red Cross says white phosphorus is being used in Gaza. No question.
But they have no evidence that Israel is using it illegally.
“In some of the strikes in Gaza it’s pretty clear that phosphorus was used,” Peter Herby, head of the Red Cross mines-arms unit, told the Associated Press Tuesday. “But it’s not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it’s being used in any other way.”
Herby said that using phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is legitimate under international law, and that there was no evidence the Jewish state was intentionally using phosphorus in a questionable way, such as burning down buildings or consciously putting civilians at risk.
Modern incendiary bombs usually contain thermite, made from aluminum and ferric oxide. The most effective formula is 25% aluminium and 75% iron oxide. It takes very high temperatures to ignite, but when alight, it can burn through solid steel. In WWII, such devices were employed in incendiary grenades to burn through heavy armor plate, or as a quick welding mechanism to destroy artillery and other complex machined weapons.
three US soldiers who participated said WP shells were used against insurgents taking cover in trenches. Writing in the March-April edition of Field Artillery... the three artillery men said: "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions ... and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes ... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out."
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