The civil war raging in Syria exposed the existence of a new weapon in the region – thermobarics.
Thermobarics are lethal weapons also known as "fuel-air bomb," which explode above a target area with a massive blast and suck air in, leaving a vacuum.
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When such a weapon is detonated, it produces a blast wave with a significantly longer duration, maximizing damage and casualties. Thermobaric weapons vary and some rounds can be fitted to hand held launchers such as RPGs and antitank weapons.
Victims of a thermobaric explosion suffer severe burns and extensive internal organ damage, before suffocating to death.
Israel, however, was not taken aback by the Syrian opposition's reports that thermobarics were used on civilians in Aleppo.
Israel knew that thermobaric weapons were supplied to the Syrian Army by Russia and unfortunate have already found their way to Hezbollah. The defense establishment, however, chose to keep this information under wraps – until now.
During the Second Lebanon War, Israel seized several RPG-29 launchers, given to Hezbollah by Syria, which were found to be armed with thermobarics.
An exercise held in February 2008 by the Ordnance Corps with aim of testing the deadly weapon, ended up in three IDF casualties – including an officer who was seriously wounded.
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