Monday, October 23, 2006

Hebro Can You Spare A DIME?

CSMonitor - An investigative report aired by the all-news state-run satellite channel in Italy alleges that Israel may have used a new weapon in Gaza recently that causes "especially serious physical injuries."

Haaretz writes that the Rai News 24 investigation follows reports by Gaza-based doctors of inexplicable injuries: an exceptionally large number of wounded who have lost legs, severe burns, and injuries unaccompanied by metal shrapnel that comes from a conventional bomb. Some of the doctors also claimed that they removed particles from wounds that could not be seen in an x-ray machine.

The Italian report identifies the possible cause of such effects may be a new weapon, launched by unmanned drones, mostly in July, though there were also reports of similar attacks in August. The Italian investigation raises the possibility that Israel has developed a weapon similar to the US military's Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), "which causes a powerful and lethal blast, but only within a relatively small radius."

According to the DefenseTech site, DIME is an effort to solve the problem of battle in an urban environment without hurting innocent bystanders. But the cost of having DIME result in "an incredibly destructive blast in a small area" is having "the destructive power of the mixture cause[s] far more damage than pure explosive." The US weapon, which is still in the testing phase, is believed by experts to be "highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment."

The Italian investigative report was produced by the same journalists who exposed the US use of the chemical phosphorous bombs during their assault on Fallujah in Iraq.

The Guardian reports that an Italian laboratory given samples from wounded patients found that the results were similar to the hypothesis that DIME-like weapons had been used. But the Israeli military, in a statement after the show, strongly denies the use of DIME weapons.