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US moving ahead with shipment of 500-pound bombs to Israel

The US has resumed the shipment of 500-pound bombs to Israel, which had been paused over concerns about civilian casualties and Israel's military actions in Gaza after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticized the delay, while the US cited concerns about their use in specific military operations.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published July 11,2024

The US has decided to move ahead with the shipment of 500-pound bombs to Israel, which was previously paused due to concerns over Israel's potential ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah and massive killings of civilians, a report said Wednesday.

The bombs "are in the process of being shipped" after a two-month pause and are expected to arrive in Israel in the "coming weeks," The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an administration official.

In May, the Biden administration paused a planned shipment to Israel of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs amid concerns about Israel's plans for a possible ground assault on Rafah, where 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge on top of the city's pre-war population of more than 200,000.

"Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers," US President Joe Biden acknowledged in an interview with CNN, referring to 2,000-pound bombs, and described Israel's bombing of Gaza as "indiscriminate."

"Heavier 2,000-pound bombs that were meant to be part of the same shipment are still on hold," the official told WSJ.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Biden administration in June for "withholding weapons and ammunition to Israel" in recent months, adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured him that restrictions would be lifted on arms transfers to Israel.

"We've been clear that our concern has been on the end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs, particularly for Israel's Rafah campaign, which they have announced they are concluding," a US official told Anadolu when asked about the shipment of 500-pound bombs.

"Because of how these shipments are put together, other munitions may sometimes be co-mingled. That's what happened here with the 500-lb bombs, since our main concern had been and remains the potential use of 2,000-lb bombs in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza," the official said. "Our concern was not about the 500-lb bombs. Those are moving forward as part of the usual process."

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday that Tel Aviv is willing to open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, but without allowing Hamas to return to the area.

In early May, the Israeli army seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt as part of a wide-scale military operation which resulted in civilian casualties and the suspension of humanitarian aid deliveries.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Nearly 38,300 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and at least 88,241 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

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