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Israeli army says it will halt its use of white phosphorous shells

Israel's army says it will soon halt its use of white phosphorous shells after years of international criticism for using the incendiary munitions in crowded Palestinian areas.

Israel's army said in a statement on Thursday that it would replace white phosphorous shells with based entirely on gas. Officials didn't offer further details, nor give a specific date for when they would retire the shells.

Israel came under heavy criticism after the three-week winter war in Gaza in 2008 and 2009 against the territory's Hamas for using white phosphorous shells. During the conflict, shells were used against a U.N. warehouse where more than 700 Palestinians were sheltering.

White phosphorus can be used legally in some battlefield situations, but Israel's use of it in Gaza drew war crimes allegations by the U.N.