US intelligence said nearly half of the 29,000 bombs Israel dropped on Gaza were “unintelligent” and could cause major casualties among civilians.
CNN‘s source on December 14 cited an assessment by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) as saying that about 40-45% of the 29,000 bombs that the Israeli army dropped on the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the conflict were of this type. Without guidance equipment, also known as “non-smart bombs.”
According to the above assessment, about 11,600-13,050 unguided bombs have been dropped on Gaza over the past two months. This type of bomb has low accuracy and a high rate of unintended damage, especially when thrown into narrow terrain such as the Gaza Strip. This may be the reason why Israeli air strikes caused large casualties among civilians in the territory.
“Using unguided bombs in densely populated areas like the Gaza Strip significantly increases the risk of an attack missing its target and causing harm to civilians,” said Marc Garlasco, a military analyst who worked for the United Nations.
According to Hamas’s medical agency, Israel’s campaign in the Gaza Strip has left more than 18,000 people dead and 50,000 injured.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Nir Dinar declined to comment on the report, saying the force does not disclose the weapons it uses. Major Keren Hajioff, another IDF spokesperson, on December 13 affirmed that the Israeli army is committed to complying with “international law and ethical norms” in the operation in the Gaza Strip, adding that the IDF is devoting “resources great force” to reduce civilian casualties.
“Our operation is against Hamas forces, not the people of the Gaza Strip,” he emphasized.
A US official said the Israeli air force may be using a “dive-throwing” technique, in which unguided bombs are released while the fighter is in a downward stance. This technique increases the accuracy of the strike because the bomb is dropped closer to the ground. “The US believes that dive-throwing techniques help drop unguided bombs with the same precision as smart bombs,” the official said.
Expert Garlasco does not agree with this statement, saying that many “variables” affect the accuracy of unguided bombs. According to him, this is also why the US military has been gradually abandoning this type of bomb over the past decade.
It is unclear what type of unguided bomb the Israeli army is using to attack the Gaza Strip, but experts say the IDF may be using M117 or MK-82 bombs.
ODNI’s report was revealed in the context of recently increased disagreement between the US and Israel regarding the conflict in the Gaza Strip. US President Joe Biden is facing fierce criticism for supporting Israel’s ground attack campaign, as civilian casualties here are increasingly high.
On December 12, Mr. Biden said that Israel is losing support because of “indiscriminate” bombardments in the strip of land and said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to change his stance on the two-state solution for conflict in which Israel and Palestine coexist peacefully. Tel Aviv previously showed no response to Washington’s call to transfer the Gaza Strip to the post-war Palestinian Authority.
“He is a good friend, but I think he has to change. The Israeli government is making things difficult for him. They don’t want a two-state solution,” the US President said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also admitted that there are disagreements between the US and Israel regarding the “post-Hamas period” but expressed hope that the two sides will soon resolve the conflict.
The White House said US national security adviser Jake Sullivan will today begin a two-day visit to Israel, during which the two sides are expected to discuss efforts to help IDF raids “increase precision and reduce civilian casualties.”
Washington previously transferred about 3,000 kits to convert conventional bombs into JDAM smart bombs to Tel Aviv and plans to provide a series of SPICE kits, an upgrade of JDAM, worth $320 million to Israel.