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GBU-39: The Small US Bomb Causing Mass Casualties in Gaza
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By Anthony Haddad
Published 2 weeks ago on
June 10, 2024

Israel's use of the precision-guided GBU-39 bomb in Gaza airstrikes aimed at militants has resulted in significant civilian casualties, including women and children, despite efforts to limit such harm. (AP/Abdel Kareem Hana)

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An American-made, precision-guided bomb, the GBU-39, was used in Gaza airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians, including women and children, New York Times reports.

The Israeli military targeted militants using civilians as human shields, but Gaza health authorities reported civilian casualties, with videos showing women and children among the dead.

Experts note that a significant increase in Israel’s use of the GBU-39 bomb this year compared to earlier stages of the conflict, when it was used in only 10% of airstrikes against Gaza. Despite being smaller and designed for precision, these bombs still cause severe civilian casualties.

Smaller Weapons Does Not Stop Civilian Deaths

Brian Castner from Amnesty International emphasized that using smaller or precision-guided weapons does not eliminate the risk of civilian deaths or ensure the lawfulness of strikes.

Initially, the Israeli military conducted full-scale invasions with tanks, artillery, and 2,000-pound bombs, resulting in heavy civilian casualties and international condemnation. Under pressure from the Biden administration, Israel shifted to low-intensity operations and targeted raids, increasingly relying on the GBU-39 bomb.

This 250-pound bomb, containing 37 pounds of explosives, is launched from warplanes.

Military analyst Ryan Brobst noted this strategic shift began around January or February. Remnants of GBU-39 bombs have been found at various strike sites across Gaza, indicating a rise in their use. Despite the precision, significant collateral damage has occurred.

The State Department concluded in May that Israel likely violated humanitarian standards by failing to protect civilians in Gaza, though it did not find specific instances justifying withholding U.S. military aid. Israel has used GBU-39 bombs since 2008 in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. Since 2012, the U.S. has delivered at least 9,550 GBU-39s to Israel.

Read more at The New York Times

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Anthony Haddad,
Multimedia Journalist
Anthony W. Haddad, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with his undergraduate degree and has an MBA at Fresno State, is the Swiss Army knife of GV Wire. He writes stories, manages social media, and represents the organization on the ground.

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