Some Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip were wounded by a new type of weapon that even doctors with previous experience in war zones do not recognize, according to Dr. Erik Fosse, a Norwegian cardiologist who worked at Gaza's Shifa Hospital for 11 days, during Operation Cast Lead.
However, he added in a telephone conversation from Oslo, most casualties were people hit by shrapnel from conventional explosives.
Fosse, a department head at a university hospital in Oslo, worked in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and several times in Lebanon, also in 2006. That was when he first heard about the new kind of weapon, but did not see any such wounds with his own eyes.
The unknown weapon appears to mainly affect the body's lower part, he said. It severs the legs, leaving burns around the stump, small punctures in the skin and internal bleeding.
According to Fosse, these injuries appear to be caused by a pressure wave generated when a missile hits the ground. His best guess, he said, is that the pressure wave is caused by a dense inert metal explosive, or DIME, a type of bomb developed to minimize collateral damage. A military expert working for Human Rights Watch also told Haaretz that the nature of the wounds and descriptions given by Gazans made it seem likely that Israel used DIMEs.
Fosse and a Norwegian colleague, Mads Gilbert, arrived in Gaza on December 31 and remained until January 10. They were financed by the Norwegian government.
On his return, Fosse submitted a report to his government in which he accused the IDF of deliberately targeting civilians. Fosse said he believes Israel deliberately chose to attack while Westerners working for international organizations were back home for the Christmas vacation.
"The Palestinian witnesses, as medical workers, are very accurate in their reports, but if we hadn't been there to confirm their testimony, it would all have been presented as Hamas propaganda," he said.
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