The IDF said it will stop using shells containing white phosphorus, although the military’s controlled use of them is legal.

Phosphorus generally is used to set up smokescreens to hide troop movement and was used in the Operation Cast Lead campaign in the winter of 2008-2009.

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The material can cause serious burns, but Hamas claimed that the military had used phosphorous bombs. International arms treaties forbid the use of incendiary weapons in civilian areas, but the chemical’s use in unpopulated areas to mask troop movements is not illegal under international law.

The IDF’s white phosphorus shells will be phased out over the next year and replaced with a gas.

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