NewsUS Halts Ammunition to Israel Amid Plans for Rafah Assault

US Halts Ammunition to Israel Amid Plans for Rafah Assault

The Pentagon chief confirmed that the USA halted arms supplies to Israel.
The Pentagon chief confirmed that the USA halted arms supplies to Israel.
Images source: © East News | Pool

6:01 AM EDT, May 9, 2024

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the United States has paused a shipment of ammunition to Israel due to the nation's plans to carry out a military operation in Rafah, located in the Gaza Strip. He mentioned that his department is reviewing additional deliveries in light of this decision.
Austin publicly confirmed the suspension of the ammunition supply to Israel during a Senate Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations hearing. He linked the action to Israel's intention to launch an attack on Rafah, highlighting it as Hamas's stronghold and a refuge for over a million Palestinian civilians.

"We’ve been very clear … that Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack into Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battlespace," said Austin, "and, again, as we have assessed the situation, we’ve paused one shipment of high-payload munitions."

He further noted that his department is still evaluating this and other potential weapons deliveries in relation to the Israeli operation in Rafah, indicating that final decisions have yet to be made and various aspects are still under review.

The US pauses weapons delivery to Israel, sparking Republican outrage

This statement led to sharp criticism from Republican senators. Senator Lindsey Graham dramatically described Israel's predicament as akin to "Hiroshima and Nagasaki on steroids," likening it to the United States' situation prior to the atomic bombings in Japan.
Halting the weapon supplies that Israel needs to combat its adversaries in a critical moment is irresponsible and absurd, Graham argued, insisting, "Give Israel the means to prevail in this conflict that it cannot afford to lose."
This marks the first official acknowledgment of a halt in military support to Israel, a move that was previously rumored, with sources including the Axios website citing anonymous officials. These reports suggest that the American decision aims to caution Israel, underscoring the seriousness with which the US views the potential repercussions of bombing a densely populated area.
President Joe Biden and other US officials have consistently cautioned Israel in recent weeks against an offensive in Rafah. Despite these warnings, Israeli officials have proceeded with military actions in parts of the city and have taken control of the border crossing with Egypt, actions that the US considers to be limited operations.
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