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The US plans a new weapons package for Israel

The US plans a new weapons package for Israel

US President Joe Biden's administration has told lawmakers it will send an additional $1 billion in arms and ammunition to Israel, three congressional advisers said. However, it is not yet known how soon the weapons will be sent.

This is the first arms shipment to Israel to be made public since the administration decided earlier this month to freeze a shipment — including 3,500 bombs — to Israel. The US administration said it paused the delivery of the bombs because of concerns about the number of civilians killed in Gaza and that Israel would not use the munitions in its offensive in the Gaza city of Rafah.

The package, announced by advisers on Tuesday, May 14, includes $700 million in tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicle ammunition and $60 million in mortar ammunition, said the advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the arms shipment has yet to be completed. it has not been made public by the administration.

There is still no indication when these weapons will be delivered to Israel. Two advisers said the remittance is not part of the aid package that Congress passed and then Biden signed into law last month. Also, it is not known if these weapons are part of any existing arms sales or any new deal.

The Biden administration has faced criticism from across the political spectrum over military support for Israel's war against Hamas — the Palestinian group designated a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union — in Gaza, which is now in its seventh month. These criticisms come at a time when Biden is fighting to defeat former President Donald Trump in the presidential election.

Some of his fellow Democrats have urged Biden to limit arms transfers to Israel in order to pressure the country to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.

Republican lawmakers have used the pause to transfer the bombs, saying that reducing US support for Israel - its closest ally in the Middle East - weakens the country, which is fighting Hamas and other Iranian-backed groups. The House of Representatives, Republicans have said, plans this week to push ahead with approval to send offensive weapons to Israel.

Despite pausing the bomb shipment, Biden and his administration officials have made it clear that they will continue to ship weapons to Israel.

Earlier in the week, national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters that President Biden will see if "Israel has all the necessary military means to defend itself against all enemies, including Hamas."

He said that Biden will provide Israel with all the capabilities it needs, but he "does not want certain categories of American weapons to be used in certain types of operations"./ REL

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