Rubber and Plastic Ammunition Lethal Injuries: The Israeli experience

Jehuda Hiss*, Fredric N. Hellman, Tzipi Kahana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rubber and plastic ammunition was used by the Israeli Defence Forces between the years 1987 and 1993 (Intifada) almost exclusively as a deterrent to aggression by the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied territories of Gaza, Judea and Samaria. While designed to avoid the serious wounds and deaths caused by the use of conventional military ammunition, the firing of rubber and plastic bullets has resulted in extensive injuries and more than 20 deaths. The data from the autopsies of 17 of these victims, mostly teenagers, were analysed. Ten of the victims died from injuries inflicted by Improved Rubber Bullets, while the other seven succumbed to injuries caused by Plastic Bullets. In most instances, the cause of death was related to injuries to the brain. Ballistic features of non-conventional bullets are discussed, and suggestions to curtail the serious injuries and fatalities arising from their use are given, with emphasis on firing from a safe range. British and South African experience with this type of ammunition is compared with our observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine, Science and the Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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