08 May 2024, 09:40

US pauses bomb shipment to Israel over Rafah 'concerns'

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The United States halted a shipment of
bombs to Israel last week after it failed to address Washington's concerns
over plans to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a senior US official
said Tuesday.

"We have paused one shipment of weapons last week. It consists of 1,800
2,000-lb (907 kg) bombs and 1,700 500-lb (226 kg) bombs," the senior official
in President Joe Biden's administration said on condition of anonymity.

"We have not made a final determination on how to proceed with this
shipment," the official added.

Biden's administration made the decision when it appeared Israel was on the
verge of a major ground operation into Rafah, which Washington has strongly

Israeli and US officials had been discussing alternatives but "those
discussions are ongoing and have not fully addressed our concerns," the
senior US official said.

"As Israeli leaders seemed to approach a decision point on such an operation,
we began to carefully review proposed transfers of particular weapons to
Israel that might be used in Rafah. This began in April."

The US official said Washington was "especially focused" on the use of the
heaviest 2,000-lb bombs "and the impact they could have in dense urban
settings as we have seen in other parts of Gaza."

The US State Department is still reviewing other weapons transfers, including
the use of precision bomb kits known as JDAMs, added the official.

Israel sent tanks into Rafah on Tuesday and seized the border crossing with
Egypt but the White House said earlier that Israel had promised it was a
"limited operation."

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