Israel-Hamas War: Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel Of Using White Phosphorous In Gaza Strip, Lebanon

White Phosphorous is classified as an 'incendiary munition' and can cause severe burn injuries. It can also cause fires to buildings and open fields.


Palestinians remove a dead body from the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip.

The non-governmental organistion Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Israel of using white phosphorous bombs in Gaza Strip and Lebanon in the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. 

The HRW on Thursday said it has verified two videos that it says show Israel using white phosphorous in Gaza and Lebanon. The Hezbollah and other aligned groups based in Lebanon have also joined the Hamas-led war on Israel, raising the potential of all-out multi-front war against Israel. 

Following the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel last Saturday that killed at least 1,300, Israel has been waging an aerial campaign in Gaza with the intention of taking down Hamas camps and facilities. The Palestinians have, however, said that a large number of civilians are also among the casualties and critical infrastructure like hospitals and schools have also been struck. So far, at least 1,500 Palestinians have died in strikes in Gaza and at least 6,600 have been injured, according to Gaza authorities.


The HRW said that the two instances of purported white phosphorous bombing took place on October 10 and 11. 

"Human Rights Watch verified videos taken in Lebanon and Gaza on October 10 and 11, 2023, respectively, showing multiple airbursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over the Gaza City port and two rural locations along the Israel-Lebanon border, and interviewed two people who described an attack in Gaza," said HRW in a statement. 

White Phosphorous is classified as an 'incendiary munition' and can cause severe burn injuries. It can also cause fires to buildings and open fields. It is very toxic to humans and catches fire at just 30*C in the air. 


WebMD says that once white phosphorous deals burns to a person, the wound continues to burn. This way, this chemical causes more severe injuries than conventional explosives. It further says it can dissolve into the body and can cause severe damage to kidney, liver, and heart.

White phosphorous is considered to be illegal in international law. The HRW in its statement said that its use by Israel " violates the international humanitarian law prohibition on putting civilians at unnecessary risk".

"Any time that white phosphorus is used in crowded civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering. White phosphorous is unlawfully indiscriminate when airburst in populated urban areas, where it can burn down houses and cause egregious harm to civilians," said HRW's Middle East and North Africa Director Lama Fakih.