U.S. launches probe into IDF misuse of U.S. weapons, causing civilian casualties, report

Investigators looking at attack on high-rise in Jabalia on October 31 where 125 people reportedly died; Israel says targeted Hamas commander in tunnel beneath building and used delayed fuse to ensure bomb explodes underground

The U.S. is investigating several Israeli airstrikes in Gaza during the war in which dozens of civilians were killed as well as attack in Lebanon where there may have been use by Israel of white phosphorus, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, as part of a probe by the State Department to determine whether Israel has misused U.S. supplied bombs and missiles to kill civilians.
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On Tuesday, State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller said the investigation was to assess whether the military operations were conducted in line with International humanitarian law.
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הצהרת הנשיא ביידן והמלך עבדאללה
הצהרת הנשיא ביידן והמלך עבדאללה
U.S. President Joe Biden
(Photo: AP)
“We do seek to thoroughly assess reports of civilian harm by authorized recipients of US-provided defense articles around the world,” he said.
The probe comes as members and supporters of the Democrat Party increasingly voice criticism over President Joe Biden's support of Israel since the outbreak of the war and amid Biden's own criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
One incident being investigated is an aerial strike on October 31, on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza where reportedly 125 people were killed, American officials said. Israel at the time said the attack was targeting a Hamas commander who was hiding in a tunnel under a high-rise building. The Americans suspect the Air Force used a 907-kilogram (2,000 pound) bomb supplied by the U.S., on the building.
The United Nations Human Rights Office said that the strike killed a large number of civilians and could be a war crime. Israeli officials refused to confirm which weapon was used in the strike but insisted that efforts were made to mitigate the number of civilian casualties by using a delayed fuse that allowed it to detonate underground.
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Aftermath of an Israeli air raid on Jabalia on October 31
The new probe carried out by the State Department is part of a process that would give the administration the tools to limit the amount of military aid to countries that may misuse American made weapons. If the investigators determine that Israel did misuse the aid, they could advise the administration to halt aid to the IDF or place restrictions on its use.
This the investigation, Miller said, would not be done quickly and is not aimed at a change in U.S. policy. "This is not a rapid response mechanism," he said adding the process was designed to systematically assess the harm to civilians and then to develop policies accordingly in order to minimize similar incidents in the future.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the IDF refused to comment on the probe.
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