DIME stands for Dense Inert Metal Explosives. DIME munitions were developed by the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia. DIME weapons were tested at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. There were reports that Israel was using them against the Palestinians in the summer of 2006.
When detonated, DIME devices use tungsten dust. It burns and destroys everything within a four-metre radius. Abdominal injuries that seem minor degenerate within hours. Victims have multi-organ failture. Pressure waves from DIME weapons move from the ground upwards, causing huge injuries to the lower part of the body and abdomen.
Dr. Erik Fosse, a physician with the Norwegian Aid Committee who worked in Gaza hospitals during the conflict, told the Independent that he saw a number of patients in Gaza with unusual lower-body injuries:
"It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wounds," he said. "Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before."Just like depleted uranium and cluster bombs, there will be a long term cost to the use of DIME.
A 2005 study (in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives) showed that tungsten alloy presents a serious cancer risk for anyone exposed to it in the form of embedded shrapnel.
Rats implanted with tungsten alloy developed extremely aggressive tumors within 4-5 months after implantation. The rats also started producing too many red blood cells, as early as a month after implantation. Even the low-dose rats had a 100% tumour rate.
Palestinian civilians aren't rats, but they are being used as test subjects for new forms of anti-insurgency weaponry.