Friday, June 21, 2024

CNN analysis finds US-made munitions were used in Israel’s deadly attack on Rafah tent camp

US-made munitions were used in a deadly Israeli strike on a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah in south of the Gaza Strip, a CNN analysis of video from the scene and a review by explosive weapons experts found.

CNN geolocated videos showing tents in flames in the aftermath of the strike on the camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) known as “Kuwait Peace Camp 1.”

In video shared on social media, which CNN geolocated to the same scene by matching details including the camp’s entrance sign and the tiles on the ground, the tail of a US-made GBU-39 small-diameter bomb (SDB) is visible, according to four explosive weapons experts who reviewed the video for CNN.

The GBU-39, manufactured by Boeing, is a high-precision munition “designed to attack strategically important point targets,” and result in low collateral damage, explosive weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith told CNN.

However, “using any munition, even of this size, will always incur risks in a densely populated area,” said Cobb-Smith, a former British Army artillery officer.

Trevor Ball, a former US Army senior explosive ordnance disposal team member who also identified the fragment as being from a GBU-39, explained to CNN how he drew his conclusion.

“The warhead portion [of the munition] is distinct, and the guidance and wing section is extremely unique compared to other munitions. Guidance and wing sections of munitions are often the remnants left over even after a munition detonates. I saw the tail actuation section and instantly knew it was one of the SDB/GBU-39 variants.”

CNN’s identification of the munition is consistent with a claim made by Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari in a briefing about the tragedy on Tuesday. Hagari stated the strike – which he claimed targeted senior Hamas commanders – used two munitions with small warheads containing 17 kilos of explosives, adding these bombs were “the smallest munitions that our jets could use.”

The traditional GBU-39 warhead has an explosive payload of 17 kilos.

Additionally, serial numbers on the remnants match those for a manufacturer of GBU-39 parts based in California – more evidence the bombs were made in the US.

Gaza officials say the death toll from Israeli air strikes on a camp housing displaced Palestinians near Rafah in southern part of the strip has risen to 45.

The enclave’s health ministry on Monday reported 45 people, including 23 women, children and elderly, were killed in the attack and 249 others wounded.

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