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17 Feb, 2024 07:49

US planning to send more bombs to Israel – WSJ

Reported deliberations over shipments come as West Jerusalem says it is preparing a new offensive in Gaza
US planning to send more bombs to Israel – WSJ

The administration of US President Joe Biden is preparing to transfer a batch of bombs and other military equipment worth tens of millions of dollars to Israel amid its conflict with Hamas, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources.

According to current and former US officials interviewed by the paper, the potential delivery could include around 1,000 500-pound MK-82 bombs, precision guidance kits for the bombs, as well as fuses. The shipment is reportedly still under review by officials, and the terms could change. The transfer would also have to be approved by Congress.

An assessment drafted by the US Embassy in Israel reportedly said that West Jerusalem had asked for the rapid transfer to defend against “continued and emerging regional threats.”

While Israel’s onslaught on Gaza in recent months has brought unprecedented destruction to the Palestinian enclave, the document said, as quoted by the WSJ, that “Israel takes effective action to prevent gross violations of human rights,” adding that the country has always been “a transparent partner in US investigations into allegations of defense article misuse.”

The US scrambled to supply Israel with military equipment after Hamas launched a surprise attack on the country on October 7. At one point in December, the Biden administration bypassed Congress to approve an emergency sale of around 14,000 tank ammunition shells to Israel. There have also been media reports that some of the US military supplies received by Israel were originally destined for Kiev, which is now complaining about ammunition shortages.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Friday that the country is planning a military offensive in Rafah in the southern part of the enclave. Biden, however, cautioned Israel against launching an operation without a “credible and executable plan” to protect the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the area.

Hostilities between Hamas and Israel have so far claimed the lives of around 1,200 Israelis and nearly 29,000 Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that peace in the region can only be achieved after the armed group is destroyed and Palestinian society is “deradicalized.” He has also pushed back against a potential peace deal that would involve the “unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.”