USA Suspended Deliveries of Bombs to Israel: IDF Spokesman Says It's Not a "Big Deal"

IDF attempted today to downplay the significance of the suspension of bomb shipments from the US due to concerns from the administration of US President that a major offensive by Israel in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip is imminent

by Sededin Dedovic
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USA Suspended Deliveries of Bombs to Israel: IDF Spokesman Says It's Not a "Big Deal"
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Israel today attacked targets in the Gaza Strip after seizing control of the main border crossing to Egypt yesterday, where negotiators are attempting to use their final chance to contribute to a ceasefire agreement. After weeks of anticipation of a ground offensive on the border town of Rafah, despite international opposition, Israeli tanks entered and seized the crucial crossing for delivering aid to the besieged Palestinian territory yesterday.

The entry into the southern Gaza city, filled with displaced civilians, occurred as mediators in Cairo tried to reach an agreement on hostage release and a ceasefire in the seven-month-long war between Israel and the extremist Hamas.

Egyptian Al-Kahera news reported that all parties, including Israel, have agreed to resume negotiations, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating that the Israeli delegation is already in Cairo. US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby noted that this is not insignificant.

Despite negotiations in Cairo, witnesses and a local hospital reported Israeli strikes across the Gaza Strip last night and this morning, including around Rafah. In an attack in the devastated northern Gaza City, seven members of the same family were killed in one apartment, with several others wounded, reported Al-Ahli hospital.

The Israeli operation in Rafah began hours after Hamas announced late on Monday that it had accepted a ceasefire proposal, which Israel said was far from what had been previously agreed upon. Nevertheless, Palestinians celebrated in the streets of Gaza, though the joy was short-lived.

A Rafah resident said the day turned into a bloody night, with Israeli bombing stealing their joy. Netanyahu labeled the operation in Rafah as a significant step in depriving Hamas of a passage crucial for establishing a reign of terror.

However, access is blocked even for aid agencies, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Israel to open both the Rafah crossing and its Kerem Shalom crossing, as it exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the closure of the crossings is unacceptable and expressed hope that Kerem Shalom would be opened today, which indeed happened. However, Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant said Israel could escalate its operation in Gaza if hostage return is not achieved through negotiations.

US authorities halted the delivery of a bomb shipment last week after Israel did not respond to Washington's "concerns" about the announced offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza, said a late-night unnamed senior US official.

"We halted the delivery of a weapon shipment last week. It consists of 1,800 bombs weighing 907 kilograms and 1,700 bombs weighing 226 kilograms. We have not made a final decision on whether that shipment will be sent," the official said.

This decision was made because Washington opposes the large offensive being prepared by Israeli troops in Rafah.

Smoke rise over the southern part of the Gaza Strip after an Israeli bombardment, as seen from the Israeli side from the border © Amir Levy / Getty Images

Washington has made it clear that it does not support an offensive without a credible plan to protect the civilians there.

US President Joseph Biden reiterated this stance in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. Israeli and US officials have discussed alternatives, with those discussions ongoing and our concerns not yet fully resolved, added the US senior official.

The Israeli army deployed tanks on Tuesday in Rafah, took control of the border crossing with Egypt, and closed two main access points for humanitarian aid, a measure the US considers "unacceptable." The Israeli army today sought to downplay the significance of the suspension of bomb shipments from the US due to concerns from the administration of US President Joseph Biden about a major Israeli offensive in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, stressing that allies resolve misunderstandings behind closed doors.

Asked about the delivery suspension during a conference organized by the Israeli newspaper "Yedioth Ahronoth," as the Gaza war enters its eighth month, Chief Military Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari assessed that the cooperation between Israel and the US reaches "unprecedented levels in history," according to agencies.

Qatar, participating in the negotiations, today called on the international community to prevent "genocide" in Rafah after Israel took control of the border crossing to Egypt near the city. In a statement, Qatar, mediating in ceasefire negotiations in the war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas, called for "urgent international action to prevent the invasion of the city and the commission of the crime of genocide," Reuters reported.

In Rafah and its surroundings, in the south of the Gaza Strip, more than half of the population has fled since the conflict in other parts of the territory. The Rafah crossing remains closed today. Sporadic explosions and gunfire were heard last night, with two strong explosions early this morning, according to the Associated Press.

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