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Biden plans to send $1bn arms shipment to Israel

Image source, Getty Images

The White House has told Congress it wants to send more than $1 billion (£800 million) worth of new weapons to Israel.

This is happening despite the United States being opposed to a full-scale invasion by the Israeli army of the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

He said last week that he had suspended sending bombs to Israel, fearing civilians could be killed if they were used in densely populated areas.

The new package, confirmed by US media, still needs to be approved by lawmakers.

That would include $700 million in tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles and $60 million in mortar shells, according to the Associated Press news agency.

On Tuesday, Israeli tanks advanced deeper into residential areas in southeastern Gaza City.

Last month, Congress passed a bill providing $95 billion in aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan.

Although the report constitutes a clear indictment of some Israeli operations in Gaza, it falls short of definitively stating that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) campaign violated international law.

He added that the assurances he had received from Israel that the legal use of American weapons would be respected were “credible and reliable.”

The package sent to Congress is the first since Mr. Biden’s administration suspended arms transfers to Israel last week.

He said he had delayed sending 900 kg bombs to Israel because of how they could be used in such a ground operation.

Asked by CNN about the delay, Mr. Biden said: “Civilians have been killed in Gaza because of these bombs.”

Arms transfers to Israel have become a political liability for Mr. Biden in the run-up to the November 2024 White House elections.

News of the latest weapons package emerged shortly after voting ended in a presidential primary election in Maryland, where activists had urged voters to register a ballot protesting what they see as partisan favoritism. Mr. Biden toward Israel over Gaza war.

Republican lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation intended to prevent any further pause in arms deliveries to the U.S. ally.

The House of Representatives will vote this week on a measure that requires the State Department and the Department of Defense to ensure the “prompt delivery” of military equipment.

The White House has pledged to veto the bill if it makes it through the Senate, which is unlikely.

Israel launched a military campaign to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s cross-border attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which around 1,200 people were killed and another 252 taken hostage.

Since then, more than 35,170 people have been killed in Gaza, including 82 in the past 24 hours, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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