Italian journalists discovered that Israel has been using an
experimental weapon against Palestinian these past several months. 
After examining the bodies of the wounded and dead, journalists found
that the weapon most likely caused more than 300 serious injuries,
leading to 62 amputations and 200 deaths between June and July 2006.

The weapon is thought to be similar to the Dime (Dense Inert Metal Explosive), which was still being tested by the US military at that time. The Dime is a precision weapon that causes a powerful blast within a small surface area, producing a severe and concentrated heat that cuts through material, such as bone, clean as a blow torch.

Habas al-Wahid, head of the emergency room at the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital in the Gaza Strip described the amputations caused by the new weapons "as if a saw was used to cut through the bone."

Doctors also found small entry wounds on victims’ bodies as well as a powder, which was also spotted in their internal organs.

The benefits of Dime, according to its supporters, is that it is perfect for highly populated areas as it causes Low Collateral Damage. The explosive, combined with tungsten powder, has a carbon fiber casing that turns to dust upon impact, which shrinks the shards of shrapnel so much that its damage radius becomes just 25 feet.

Yitzhak Ben-Israel, major-general in the Israel air force, formerly head of the army's weapons-development program, told Italian journalists, "One of the ideas is to allow those targeted to be hit without causing damage to bystanders or other persons."

Although the weapon is not yet illegal, the tungsten, the main material that would stray outside of the target zone, is said to be highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment.

According to New Scientist magazine: In a study designed to simulate shrapnel injuries, pellets of weapons-grade tungsten alloy were implanted in 92 rats. Within five months all the animals developed a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, according to John Kalinich's team at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Maryland.

Dr. Mark Witten, a cancer researcher from the University of Arizona, said he was concerned about the possible links between tungsten and leukemia.  He said, "My opinion is that there needs to be much more research on the health effects of tungsten before the military increases its usage."

Carmela Vaccaio, a doctor at University of Parma, examined samples sent by the Italian reporters from the Gaza Strip and found a very high concentration of carbon, as well as copper, aluminum and tungsten, which she considered to be unusual materials. In her report she concluded, "These findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is Dime.” 

Sourced from Al Jazeera and
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