The US halted bomb deliveries to Israel over Rafah

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By Creative Media News

  • US halts bomb shipment to Israel over concerns for Gaza
  • Delayed weapons likely Mk-84s and BLU-109s, raising urban collateral damage worries
  • Israeli-Gaza conflict intensifies; US scrutinizes arms shipments since April

A senior US administration official stated that the United States halted a bomb shipment to Israel last week out of concern that Israel might advance with a significant ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The shipment included 1,700 500-pound explosives and 1,800 2,000-pound bombs (907 kilograms), according to the official.

They added that Israel has not “completely addressed” American concerns regarding the humanitarian requirements of civilians in Rafah.

It appeared that an Israeli military official downplayed the United States’ action.

US President Joe Biden is under increasing domestic pressure, from Democratic legislators and a portion of the US public, to rein in Israeli operations in Gaza in the face of escalating civilian casualties and a deteriorating humanitarian situation. The delayed arms shipment coincides with this pressure.

Israel appears poised to launch a large-scale invasion of Rafah, a congested region of southern Gaza and the last main stronghold of Hamas in the territory, despite resolute and vocal opposition from the United States.

Officials from the United States have issued a warning that an operation in the city, which has become a haven for refugees from other regions of Gaza, could result in significant harm to civilians.

Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the IDF, stated at a news conference that since the start of the conflict, the United States has offered “unprecedented” security assistance. He further stated that disagreements among the allies were resolved in a “matter-of-fact” manner, albeit behind closed doors.

However, a prominent member of the Likud party, which is led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, stated that he believes the decision to suspend weapon deliveries was influenced by domestic political factors in the United States.

Boaz Bismuth, a member of the Israeli parliament and the foreign affairs and defense committee, stated, “I vehemently disagree that the American election has all of this to do with it.

As the weapons that the United States is withholding pertain to future delivery, an imminent impact is improbable. Given the pace of Israeli bombing, however, it is probable that future strikes will be impacted shortly.

Additional Israeli airstrikes occurred in the Gaza Strip during the night, hours after Israeli forces seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

In the vicinity of Rafah, the Israeli bombardment was especially intensive. Local medical personnel reported that seven family members were slain.

Rafah has served as a critical conduit for humanitarian assistance and the sole means of escape for individuals since the conflict between Hamas and Israel commenced in October of last year.

Wednesday morning saw the closure of the aforementioned crossing; however, the Israeli military announced the reopening of the adjacent Kerem Shalom crossing, which had been closed for the past four days due to rocket fire from Hamas.

The Israeli military issued a directive on Monday for the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians from the eastern regions of Rafah city in preparation for a “limited” operation aimed at eliminating Hamas combatants and deconstructing infrastructure.

Amidst this, endeavors persist to establish a ceasefire and secure the liberation of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli captives. Delegations representing Hamas and Israel have recommenced negotiations in Cairo, facilitated by mediators.

Tuesday, a United States official finally verified that at least one shipment of bombs was delayed this week, after previously declining to confirm or deny reports of such delays.

The US has maintained that Israel should not initiate a significant ground operation in Rafah, where over a million individuals are seeking refuge with nowhere else to go, according to a senior US administration official.

Further, the official stated that negotiations with Israel are “continuing and have not entirely resolved our concerns,” and that the United States has been scrutinizing its arms shipments to Israel since April.

The official stated, “We are particularly concerned with the final destination of the 2,000-pound bombs and the effect they could have in dense urban areas, as we have observed in other regions of Gaza.”

They added that the cargoes had been deducted from “previously appropriated funds” and were unrelated to the historic $17 billion military aid package that was unveiled last month.

Which weaponry has experienced a delay?

The 2,000-pound explosives in question were probably Mk-84s, BLU-109s, or both.

The first is an inexpensive, all-purpose munition, while the second is a penetrating weapon specifically engineered for use against fortified or subterranean targets. Both are compatible with JDAM systems, which provide precise satellite navigation capabilities. Moreover, laser guidance systems may be installed.

It is possible to achieve an accuracy of these weapons of mere meters. However, the potential for “collateral damage” is significant in a crowded, urban setting such as Gaza. Moreover, this is the source of concern. Jet-deployed guidance units can also be affixed to the 500-pound explosives that are more compact.

The precise manner in which Israel employs these weapons remains unknown; however, Israeli Air Force media posts frequently depict F-16 and F-15 aircraft outfitted with JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] kits in preparation for strikes.

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It is noteworthy to mention that in addition to targets in southern Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah, an organization sponsored by Iran, these weapons have been employed in cross-border exchanges of fire with Israeli forces on an almost daily basis since the inception of the Gaza conflict.

This indicates that Washington is becoming progressively more apprehensive regarding Israel’s conflict in Gaza.

The Israeli military operation aimed at destabilizing Hamas was initiated in reaction to the organization’s cross-border assault on southern Israel on October 7. The attack claimed the lives of approximately 1,200 individuals and held 252 others captive.

Over 34,780 individuals have lost their lives in Gaza since that time, according to the health ministry of the territory, which is operated by Hamas.

Hamas agreed to release 240 Palestinian detainees held in Israeli jails and 105 hostages in exchange for a week-long cessation of hostilities, as per a November agreement. Israel asserts that there are 128 unaccounted-for hostages, of which 36 are presumed deceased.

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