Palestinians face explosive bullets, gas bombs from Israel

Medics treating Palestinian protesters say Israeli forces are shooting at demonstrators with a “butterfly bullet”, which explodes upon impact, pulverizing tissue, arteries and bone, while causing severe internal injuries.

All 24 Palestinians who had their limbs amputated between March 30 and May 3 in mass protests along the Gaza border, were shot with a single explosive bullet, including journalists Yaser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein who succumbed to their wounds after being shot in the abdomen.

“All of their internal organs were totally destroyed, pulverized,” said Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman.

The bullets are the deadliest the Israeli army has ever used, according to al-Qedra.

“Normally, a regular bullet breaks the leg [upon impact]. But these bullets create massive wounds, indicating that an explosion happened inside the body. It’s an expanding bullet. It pulverizes the leg, and the leg gets cut off [as a result],” al-Qedra explained.

At least 45 Palestinians have been killed since the March of Great Return movement began a month ago – the vast majority by this new type of explosive bullet, health officials say. About 7,000 Palestinians have been wounded.

Gaza’s medics have struggled to cope, not just with the sheer number of injured demonstrators that rush through the hospital doors every Friday, but also to properly treat these kinds of ghastly wounds.

Medical staff from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) operating in Gaza say patients who have been shot with the rounds have sustained fist-sized wounds of an “unusual severity” and will have to undergo “complex surgical operations”.

“Half of the more than 500 patients we have admitted in our clinics have injuries where the bullet has literally destroyed tissue after having pulverized the bone,” said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, head of MSF in Palestine, in a report.

“Managing these injuries is very difficult… A lot of patients will keep functional deficiencies for the rest of their life.”

Explosive rounds were banned internationally under the 1899 Hague Convention because of the “unnecessary injury and suffering caused from large bullet wounds”.

Under international law, when the use of force is unavoidable, law enforcement officials must make all efforts to minimize injury.

“We know about the kind of wounds that this bullet creates in the body and from the remnants of the bullets, the shrapnel that they take out. We know that this is something that we’ve never seen before,” al-Qedra said, adding that the rounds have been used since the March of Great Return movement began.

A spokesperson from the Israeli army rejected the allegations.

“The IDF only employs means that are lawful under international law. No new bullets or gas have been employed during the recent events in the Gaza Strip,” one spokesperson said.

Many have documented how Israel has “turned the occupied territories into a laboratory for refining, testing and showcasing its weapons systems”, which it later sells worldwide with the advertisement that the products have been “tested in combat”.

Many have documented how Israel has “turned the occupied territories into a laboratory for refining, testing and showcasing its weapons systems”, which it later sells worldwide with the advertisement that the products have been “tested in combat”.

Israel is smaller than New York, yet it’s believed to be the largest per capita weapons exporter in the world.

The butterfly bullet, however, isn’t the only new weapon featured prominently in the protests in Gaza.
Palestinians have also noted an unknown toxic gas launched at demonstrators, which provokes severe convulsions.

The yellow-green gas has caused many who were exposed to it to convulse, their legs and bodies thrashing violently as they lay on the ground.

 

 


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