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U.S. approved additional bombs to Israel, official says

The United States granted approval this week for the transfer of thousands of additional bombs to Israel although they will not be delivered until at least next year, a Biden administration official said on Thursday.

Agencies and A News MIDDLE EAST
Published April 04,2024
U.S. President Joe Biden (File photo)

The U.S. approved the transfer of thousands of additional bombs to Israel earlier this week, according to a Biden administration official.

The official, confirming an earlier report by the Washington Post, told Anadolu that the State Department approved the transfer of more than 1,000 small diameter bombs and more than 1,000 MK82 500-pound bombs, as well as fuses for MK80 bombs to Israel.

"This transfer was approved prior to the attack on the WCK (World Central Kitchen)," said the official. "The munitions in question are pursuant to a previously Congressionally notified and announced Foreign Military Sale, so Congress was not notified a second time."

Deliveries would not occur before late 2024 and 2025, according to the official.

The Washington Post reported that the transfer was approved on the day Israeli strikes in Gaza killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen.

The workers killed in Monday's strikes were nationals of Australia, Poland, the UK, Palestine, as well as a U.S.-Canadian dual citizen.

Despite coordinating movements with the Israeli army, the humanitarian organization said the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in the southern Gaza city of Deir al-Balah, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he is "outraged" and "heartbroken" over the deadly airstrikes and highlighted that Israel "has not done enough to protect aid workers."

The U.S. is facing a barrage of criticism for providing military assistance to Israel amid reports of Tel Aviv targeting civilians -- with nearly 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, killed in Gaza, and credible reports of violations of international law and U.S. law, including the blocking of American aid.

A growing number of Biden's fellow Democrats have been urging him to condition additional provision of arms to Israel on its military conduct and remove obstructions to the provision of international humanitarian assistance.

Last month, a half-dozen Democratic senators sent a letter to Biden urging him to halt arms sales to Israel because it is currently in violation of a 1961 law that prohibits arms sales to nations that obstruct the delivery of American aid.

"The United States should not provide military assistance to any country that interferes with U.S. humanitarian assistance," the senators wrote. "Federal law is clear, and, given the urgency of the crisis in Gaza and the repeated refusal of Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu to address U.S. concerns on this issue, immediate action is necessary to secure a change in policy by his government."

A Feb. 8 memorandum signed by Biden requires countries that receive U.S. military assistance to give Washington "credible and reliable written assurances" that the arms will be used in compliance with "international human rights law and international humanitarian law."

Israel submitted written assurances to the State Department last month, but human rights groups said those assurances were not credible and urged the government to suspend arms transfers to Israel.

Human Rights Watch and Oxfam submitted a report to the Biden administration last month listing a range of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law since Oct. 7, including the use of U.S.-supplied white phosphorus in military operations in Lebanon and Gaza, disproportionate strikes on or near several major hospitals and an ambulance, and the systematic blocking of U.S.-funded assistance.