A newly released study shows that the use of explosive artillery by Israeli forces in last year’s war on Gaza increased by over 530 percent compared to the Israeli regime’s military offensive on the coastal enclave six years earlier.
The report, released by the British NGO Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) on Tuesday, shows that Israeli forces increased their firing of high explosive artillery by 533 percent during the war on Gaza in 2014 compared to the military aggression in 2008-2009.
The NGO said the use of artillery shelling “in and near populated areas puts civilians at grave risk of death and injury,” as these explosive weapons, which fire numerous rounds of “heavy, unguided shells” lack accuracy.
According to the study’s findings, the Israeli forces fired 34,000 unguided shells into Gaza last year, which is more than the shells fired in any Israeli operation since the 2006 war on Lebanon, when it fired off 170,000 shells.
The report also shows that Israeli forces dramatically shortened the safety distance that regulates how close artillery shells could land to residential homes from 300 meters to 100 meters, putting Palestinians at greater risk as the estimated “casualty-producing radius of a 155mm artillery shell is close to 300 meters.”
Iain Overton, the AOAV’s director of policy, said the findings reveal that Israeli forces are more reliant on artillery shells “now than they were almost a decade ago.”
Overton added that “unguided artillery shells are a relic of a bygone day,” saying, “There’s no reason why Israel can’t stop using such damaging weaponry in populated areas.”
A Palestinian boy stands next to the rubble of a building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 2, 2014.
The NGO report came days after the United Nations released data on March 26 showing that the Israeli war and aggression against Gaza in 2014 claimed the lives of more Palestinian civilians than any other year since 1967.
Israel started its latest war on the Gaza Strip in early July last year. The offensive ended on August 26, 2014, with a truce that took effect after indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in Israel’s 50-day onslaught. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also injured.
The UK-based Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and several other international rights organizations have found the Tel Aviv regime guilty of using white phosphorus and bombing civilian targets, including hospitals and schools.