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Israel military using AI system to target militants, bomb civilians

April 4, 2024 at 8:40 pm

Palestinians collect usable items among the rubbles of the damaged buildings as Israeli attacks continue in the Al-Zahra district of Gaza City, Gaza on April 04, 2024. [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli military is reportedly using an artificial intelligence system to assist its bombing of targets in the Gaza Strip at a high civilian cost, giving a further dystopian twist to the Occupation’s war crimes in the besieged Territory.

In a report by the outlets +972 Magazine and Local Call, unnamed Israeli intelligence officers with first-hand experience of the ongoing war revealed that the military is using an AI-assisted targeting system called ‘Lavender’ to isolate and identify thousands of Palestinians as potential bombing targets in Gaza.

Highlighting that the system has a significant influence on the military’s operations in Gaza to the extent that they treat it “as if it were a human decision”, the sources revealed that ‘Lavender’ is designed to mark suspects belonging to Palestinian Resistance groups, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Despite that being its stated aim, the system had reportedly identified around 37,000 Palestinians as “suspects” within the first few weeks of the offensive, including their homes that could be targeted in air strikes, even if the individuals’ family members were present there.

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In strikes on low-level Hamas members, 15 or 20 civilians could be killed alongside them, and the targeting of a Hamas Commander would warrant the killing of as many as 100 civilians under the Israeli military’s authorisation.

In the targeting of alleged junior militants identified by ‘Lavender’, the use of unguided missiles – ‘dumb’ bombs – was preferred, allowing the Occupation the ability to destroy entire neighbourhoods and inflict more significant casualties in comparison to more precision munitions.

According to the investigation, the “Israeli army systematically attacked the targeted individuals while they were in their homes – usually at night while their whole families were present – rather than during the course of military activity.”

That was reportedly confirmed by the intelligence sources, with one officer who served in the war acknowledging the ease in bombing a family home, instead of specifically targeting suspected militants when they were away from other civilians. “The IDF bombed them [resistance fighters] in homes without hesitation, as a first option. It’s much easier to bomb a family’s home. The system is built to look for them in these situations”.

Aside from further confirming Israel’s targeting of civilians in Gaza, the revelation of the ‘Lavender’ system adds a new level of efficiency and mechanisation to the Israeli military’s war crimes, causing critics to refer to it as AI-assisted genocide.

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