The diplomatic stand-off bought time for Israel, which is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells over civilian targets, to continue its operation in GazaI admit that even I wasn't certain if perhaps the denial of the IDF spokesman wasn't a bit hedgy, though I could see the logic of it.
It seems I was wrong. This fellow did what the blogosphere sometimes does. He went to investigate, just like journalists used to do, instead of what they do these days. His findings look rather convincing to me. He took a close look at a photo of the ordinance being used by the IDF artillery units (on the Israeli side of the border, so the Times journalist could have done the same), and then he looked up the gobbledygook that's written on the shells. Lo and behold: The IDF spokesman was telling the truth!
The Times website doesn't have a correction yet, but maybe tomorrow it will.