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Apart from white phosphorus, the Israeli army used a variety of other weapons in densely populated civilian areas of Gaza in the three-week conflict that began on 27 December.
Flechettes are 4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks. The shells explode in the air and scatter the flechettes in a conical pattern over an area about 300m wide and 100m long.
An anti-personnel weapon designed to penetrate dense vegetation, flechettes should never be used in built-up civilian areas. The Israeli army has used them in Gaza periodically for several years. In most cases their use has resulted in civilians being killed or injured.
Amnesty International's fact-finding team in Gaza first heard about the use of flechettes in the most recent conflict some ten days ago. The father of one of the victims showed the team a flechette which had been taken out of his son's body.
In its latest post on Amnesty International's Livewire blog, the team described how on Monday it visited towns and villages around Gaza and found more hard evidence of the use of flechettes.