US Halts Bomb Shipment to Israel Over Concerns for Rafah Operations

The United States suspended a scheduled bomb delivery to Israel amidst apprehensions that Israel was preparing for a major ground operation in Rafah, a senior US administration official told BBC. The shipment, as per the report, comprising 1,800 2,000lb (907kg) bombs and 1,700 500lb bombs, was halted due to unresolved worries regarding the humanitarian situation of civilians in Rafah. 

While Israel has not sufficiently addressed these concerns, an Israeli military spokesperson appeared to downplay the US decision, as per the report. 

US Halts Shipment Of Bombs 

After initially withholding comment on reports of delayed weapons shipments, a US official confirmed the development. “The US stance has been clear that Israel should refrain from launching a major ground operation in Rafah, where over a million people seek refuge with nowhere else to go,” he asserted, as reported by BBC. 

“We are particularly focused on the use of 2,000lb bombs and their potential impact in densely populated urban areas, as witnessed elsewhere in Gaza,” the official added. 

This development coincides with mounting pressure on US President Joe Biden domestically, urging him to restrain Israeli actions in Gaza in light of escalating civilian casualties and worsening humanitarian conditions. 

Despite strong objections from the US, Israel seemed poised for a large-scale incursion into Rafah, Hamas’ last major stronghold in the southern region of Gaza. 

US officials had cautioned that an operation in Rafah, swollen with refugees from other parts of Gaza, could result in extensive civilian casualties. 

Speaking at a news briefing, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari acknowledged “unprecedented” security assistance from the US throughout the conflict, stating that any disagreements between the allies were resolved “behind closed doors in a matter-of-fact way”. 

According to the BBC report, the delayed weapons shipment, which is part of a future consignment, is not expected to have an immediate impact, but it may affect the future Israeli airstrikes. 

Overnight, Israeli airstrikes persisted in the Gaza Strip, following Israeli forces’ control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing bordering Egypt. As per the BBC report, the bombardment was intense around Rafah and resulted in the deaths of seven members of a single family. 

Rafah, crucial for aid entry and the sole exit for fleeing civilians, remained closed on Wednesday, as reported by BBC. The nearby Kerem Shalom crossing closed for four days due to Hamas rocket fire, was set to reopen.  

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