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US Bomb Shipment To Israel Under Review Over Possible Use In 'Densely Populated Area'

18.06.2024 19:57

Concerns over use of 2,000 pound bombs continues, says Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The US is continuing to review a shipment of bombs to Israel because of concerns about its possible use in heavily populated areas in the Gaza Strip, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.

"We, as you know, are continuing to review one shipment that President Biden has talked about with regard to 2,000-pound (907-kilogram) bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah that remains other under review," Blinken said a news conference in Washington with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

"Everything else is moving as it normally would ... and again, with the perspective of making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against this multiplicity of challenges," he added.

His remarks came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Blinken had assured him that the Biden administration is working to cancel restrictions on arms deliveries to Israel, in a war that has already killed or injured well over 100,000 people.

Netanyahu said when Blinken was recently in Israel, they had a "candid conversation." "But I also said something else, I said it's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel," Netanyahu said in an English language video.

Blinken said he is not going to talk about what was discussed in diplomatic conversations.

"I can just say again that we have a commitment to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against a whole variety of threats, Gaza is part of it," he said.

He said US President Joe Biden publicly talked about the 2000-pound bombs and concerns that the US has about having them used in densely populated areas.

"That remains, we continue to work through that, but there's been no change in our posture, which our posture is again to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself across these many threats," he said.

Two key Democratic lawmakers signed off on a major arms sale to Israel that includes 50 F-15 fighter jets worth more than $18 billion, The Washington Post reported Monday.

In early May, Biden paused the delivery of a weapons shipment that included 2,000-pound bombs that Israel previously used to flatten wide swathes of Gaza. His decision to halt the shipment was made due to his concerns about Israel's planned invasion of the southern city of Rafah, which then went forward despite international criticism.

Biden had said an invasion of Rafah would cross a "red line," but senior US officials later tried to backtrack, saying the president did not set any "red lines" for Israel as it carries out its offensive.

The president has faced a wave of nationwide protests, including from many of his traditional supporters, for his handling of the Gaza conflict.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, attack by Hamas.

More than 37,350 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 85,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli onslaught, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6. -

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