Tuesday, July 23, 2024

U.S. 3,500 bomb delivery to Israel halted over Rafah operation 

The end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs in Rafah was of particular concern to the U.S. 

• May 8, 2024
bombs used to illustrate the story[Credit: Wikipedia]

The U.S. arms deliveries to Israel that were halted last week amid mounting concerns over Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip’s city of Rafah included 1,800 2,000-pound (907-kilogram) bombs, a senior U.S. official.

The Axios news website, which reported this, cited the senior U.S. official saying that 1,700 500-pound bombs were among the arms deliveries that were halted.

Recently, the United States has been engaged in a dialogue with Israel, with the U.S. seeking clarity on how the humanitarian needs of people would be met in Rafah in the event of the operation, the official said.

As the decision on the offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city was mulled by Israeli authorities, the U.S. started to review transfers of weapons that could be potentially used there, eventually putting on hold one type of delivery last week, the official added.

The end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs in Rafah was of particular concern to the U.S. 

Due to its devastating impact on urban areas seen before, President Joe Biden’s administration had no decision on “how to proceed with this shipment,” the official said.

In the meantime, the official added that the U.S. was committed to ensuring that Israel receives “every dollar” from the aid package passed in April.

“None of these shipments have anything to do with the Israel supplemental appropriations passed last month. All are drawn from previously appropriated funds, many years ago,” the official said.

At the moment, the U.S. is reviewing other weapon shipments to Israel, including the supply of JDAM kits that turn “dumb bombs” into precision weapons, but “none of these cases involve imminent transfers – they are about future transfers,” the official added.

On Monday, Israel started a military operation in the eastern parts of Rafah and took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Hamas said it had agreed to the provisions of the ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar mediators, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the truce deal unacceptable. 

Over a million people are believed to be sheltering in the city.

On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases.

Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed, and some 240 others abducted during the attack.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

More than 34,700 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

Also, more than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. 


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