Israel fired almost five times more artillery shells into Gaza during the last month of fighting than in the 2008-2009 war there but did not use controversial white phosphorous this time around, an Israeli general said on Tuesday.

Criticized by human rights groups after the previous conflict for posing a burn risk to civilians by shelling the congested Palestinian enclave with white phosphorous to create smoke-screens, Israel said last year it was phasing out those rounds.

In the conflict with Hamas-led Palestinian guerrillas that erupted in July 8, Israeli gunners masked troop advances only with locally made M116 “gray smoke” rounds that contain no white phosphorous, artillery chief Brigadier-General Roy Riftin said. […]