DIME explosion - seen from ground

A little bit about the DIME weapons Israel is using on Gaza


DIME explosion - seen from ground
DIME explosion – seen from ground. globalsecurity.org

Medical professionals that have seen the injuries of civilians being treated in the vastly overwhelmed hospitals in Gaza are reporting injuries remarkably similar as their previous experience in Israel’s previous genocidal war n 2009, the infamous “Cast Lead.”

During that illegal war, Israel employed DIME weapons, which stand for “Dense Inert Metal Explosive”causing horrific amputations with little or none of the shrapnel that doctors expected to see. Palestinian and foreign doctors were mystified, and Israel, to no one’s surprise, claimed it did not use DIME bombs.

But here we are in 2014 and both Palestinian and foreign doctors are seeing the same types of injuries and amputations, in addition to evidence leading those doctors to charge that Israel is using additional banned weapons. Some of the indications that DIME weapons have been used in Gaza in 2014 include severed limbs that have extreme heat at the point of the severing, without shrapnel present at the site. The latter charge will be addressed in a future article on cintayati.

For now, the purpose is to explain what exactly the DIME bombs are, what they do immediately and the effect on the human body later, if that person survives the amputation(s).


DIME was designed by the US Air Force in 2006. Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) is uniquely suited for Low Collateral Damage. It produces lower pressure but increased impulse in the near field. Far Field damage is reduced (no frags/ impulse rolloff). The lethal footprint can be tuned to precision footprint. (globalsecurity)

Immediate Effects

DIME weapons (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) cause extreme heat and severe injuries. DIME bombs produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA).

DIME explosion - seen from ground
DIME explosion – seen from ground. globalsecurity.org

The ‘footprint’ of the DIME blast is much smaller than a conventional bombs because gravity and air resistance quickly drag the dense, finely powdered “micro-shrapnel” to the ground. The blast radius is reportedly as small as 25 feet. [6][25] The ideal of “Focused Lethality” is to reliably kill every human within the blast zone—one way or another. It is ‘total war’ on a 50- or 100-foot circle, within which deaths are not admitted as collateral, but purchased as insurance.

How does “micro-shrapnel” work? Israel’s new weapon “slices” off its victims’ legs, leaving “signs of heat and burns near the point of the amputation”. It’s “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone”, according to Dr. Habas al-Wahid, head of the ER at Gaza’s Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital. [5]

Effect of DIME bomb - globalsecurity.org.
Effect of DIME bomb – globalsecurity.org.
Delayed Effects

Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).[6-13] It is unfortunate that the US media have virtually blacked out the story of Israel’s new weapon, not least because our own military may soon be using it in Iraq and Afghanistan. The story might also have told us something about the grossly disproportionate brutality of Israel’s war on the Palestinian people—reason enough for the media to suppress it.

The powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy “micro-shrapnel” in the DIME bomb is a“spin-off” from the US military’s development of depleted uranium (DU) and uranium alloy “bunker buster” bombs. In fact, HMTA has been proposed as a replacement for DU in some weapons systems.

The new alloys are collectively known as HMTA. In the scientific literature on tungsten, the toxicity of HMTA stands apart. This formula (roughly 9 parts tungsten and one part nickel and cobalt or iron) damages DNA even when powders of the metals are simply mixed together.

Implanting four tiny bits of weapons-grade HMTA in lab mice induced terminal cancer in 100 percent of the subjects. A powdered HMTA recipe was tumor-generating and capable of “genotoxic effects”. At least one experiment found parallels in the way DU and HMTA attack DNA. The results of another suggested that HMTA may pass its genetic damage down to the next generation. [8][11][12][13] Crucially, HMTA may be much more carcinogenic than DU when it is embedded in the body—as DIME weapons are designed to do. “Tumors developed rapidly” in rats implanted with pellets of HMTA, but researchers “did not observe tumor formation in the DU-implanted rats.”

Multiple syndromes of heavy metal poisoning have also been attributed to this alloy, including a disease that can be induced by cobalt overdose. Because HMTA contains far too little cobalt to cause the disease by itself, researchers suspected a synergistic effect among or between the metals. [11] This research and studies of tungsten alloys in soils indicate that the area of a DIME blast should be treated with caution until it has been decontaminated (assuming this is possible). Depending on the local HMTA concentration, soil in the blast area may remain barren for an indefinite period of time, or it may grow plants internally contaminated with HMTA.

It is hardly news that nickel is carcinogenic and genotoxic, and specialists have long noted that heavy metal alloys tend to unpredictably amplify the toxicities of their component metals. With this kind of “incomplete” information at hand, could military scientists have reasonably “assumed” that nickel would be a “safe” addition to HMTA?

Concerns have been voiced about tungsten sport ammunition for several years.

The toxic HMTA “micro-shrapnel” spewed by DIME weapons appears to be the latest development in a long string of carcinogenic and genotoxic weapons developed and deployed by the US military. However, DIME is also represents a departure from tradition. Rather than spraying or exploding clouds of genotoxic dust, it’s a step into a future in which the toxic metal can be blasted directly into the human body, to “continue the fight” as an embedded agent.

What the doctors in Gaza are saying

Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian physician present during “Cast Lead” stated to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interview in 2009

When it comes to the DIME weapons, we have seen a substantial number of amputations, where the amputees do not have shrapnel injuries. On the contrary, they have torn apart their legs, often one or two or even three limbs, their arm also. Some of them are beyond salvage, because the amputations are so high and so fierce that it also affects the lower part of the body. Some are survivable. But typical for these amputations is that there is no sign of metal fragments or shrapnel. It is only this very brutal amputations caused by some extreme power and small rice grain, rice, corn, pieces of some kind of substance, not metal, but — you know, the DIME weapon is a mixture of metals, nickel and cobalt, in a composite cast, not in a metal cast. And that’s explaining why you don’t see shrapnel.

The additional effect in animal studies on the DIME weapon is that the residuals in the muscle in mice will cause a very severe form of muscle cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, which easily spreads to the lungs.

Gaza’s undersecretary of health, Youssef Abu al-Resh, verified the concern that Israeli forces have begun to use banned DIME weapons against Palestinian civilians.

Abu al-Resh told a press conference, “Medical teams have found wounds on the bodies of those killed and injured that are caused by the banned DIME weapons.” He added, “Gaza hospitals are bursting at the seams with dead and wounded. Children and women make up around 62 percent of those injured in the attacks.”



James Brooks. Grassroots Peace, “Warfare of the Future, Today? The DIME Bomb: Yet another genotoxic weapon,” accessed 13 July, 2014, http://www.grassrootspeace.org/israel_dime_bombs_121206.pdf

Democracy Now!, “White Phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives: Is Israel Using Banned and Experimental Munitions in Gaza?” accessed 13 July, 2014, http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/14/white_phosphorous_and_dense_inert_metal

Saed Bannoura, “Doctor in Gaza Reports Injuries Indicating Israeli Use of Banned Weapons, ” International Middle East Media Center, accessed 13 July, 2014, http://www.imemc.org/article/68456

2 thoughts on “A little bit about the DIME weapons Israel is using on Gaza”

    1. Clearly you didn’t read the documentation. The intention of such a munition is to cause collateral damage. And the Tungsten in it causes cancer. For both of these reasons it is banned to use in civilian areas and to do so violates the Laws of War Article 23. “Israel’s” use of DIME munitions in Gaza is a war crime.


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