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30 Mar, 2024 02:20

US secretly sending more bombs to Israel – WaPo

Washington is fueling the war in Gaza with new arms supplies despite a rift with West Jerusalem
US secretly sending more bombs to Israel – WaPo

The US has signed off on the transfer of billions of dollars worth of bombs and aircraft to Israel, despite publicly expressing concerns about a looming Israeli ground incursion into the overcrowded Gaza town of Rafah, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Around 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs are among the armaments in the handover, anonymous Pentagon and White House officials told the newspaper. On top of that, the State Department reportedly authorized the transfer of 25 F-35A aircraft and engines valued at around $2.5 billion. The transfers had originally been approved by Congress years ago as part of the $3 billion+ annual military assistance to the longtime ally, so did not require a new notification.

The use of US-supplied bombs added to the soaring death toll in Gaza, which by the end of March topped 32,000, according to the latest figures provided by Palestinian health officials.

West Jerusalem is seeking to completely eliminate Palestinian militant group Hamas, which staged an incursion from the enclave into southern Israel last October, killing around 1,200 people and capturing scores of hostages.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) allegedly used the 2,000-pound bunker busters in strikes on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp and around the Al-Shati refugee camp last year. The Jabalia bombings alone are believed to have claimed more than 100 lives, in what the UN later called “disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes.”

Washington insists that Israel has provided the US with “credible and reliable written assurances” that any military aid provided has been used in accordance with international law. “We have not found them to be in violation,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told the press on Monday.

However, the rift between Washington and the Jewish state has become increasingly evident this week, when the US allowed a resolution urging for an immediate ceasefire to pass in the UN Security Council, instead of vetoing it. In response, Israel canceled the planned visit of a high-level delegation to the US.

The delegation was supposed to discuss the planned Israeli military operation against Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza where more than 1.4 million of the enclave’s total population is currently taking refuge. The UN has warned that the offensive will lead to massive loss of life, and even the White House has publicly urged Israel against the attack.

Israel has “no choice” but to send troops into the overcrowded Palestinian city, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US lawmakers on Wednesday, reiterating that the remaining Hamas strongholds must be completely eliminated.

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