US official says Washington to resume shipping 500-pound bombs to Israel

US President Joe Biden's administration will resume shipping 500-pound bombs to Israel amid the war in the Gaza Strip but will continue to hold back on supplying 2,000-pound bombs over concerns about their use in the densely populated enclave, an American official has stated.

The U.S. in May paused a shipment of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs due to concern over the impact they could have in Gaza during the war.

The administration’s particular concern had been use of such large bombs in Rafah, where over one million Palestinians had taken refuge.

“We’ve been clear that our concern has been on the end-use of the 2,000-lb bombs, particularly for Israel’s Rafah campaign which they have announced they are concluding,” a U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

One 2,000-pound bomb can rip through thick concrete and metal, creating a wide blast radius.

The U.S. official stated the 500-pound bombs were put together in the same shipment with the larger ones that were paused and therefore got held up.

“Our main concern had been and remains the potential use of 2,000 lb bombs in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza … Because our concern was not about the 500 lb bombs, those are moving forward as part of the usual process,” the official added.

The U.S. has notified Israel that it is releasing the 500-pound bombs but keeping the hold on the larger ones, a person familiar with the matter said.

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Washington was withholding weapons, and pleaded with U.S. officials to remedy the situation. Biden’s aides expressed disappointment and confusion over the Israeli leader’s remarks.

During his visit to Washington, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated there had been significant progress on the issue of U.S. munitions supply to Israel, adding “obstacles were removed and bottlenecks were addressed”.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas.

More than 38,300 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 88,300 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

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