Pentagon confirms halt in arms supply to Israel — RT World News

The delivery was withdrawn due to concerns about the Rafah operation, according to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, quoted by the Financial Times, that the United States halted an arms shipment to Israel last week due to concerns about the looming ground operation in West Jerusalem in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Washington has not decided the final fate of the weapons, but is concerned about their possible use in the Palestinian city, the US Secretary of Defense said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

He added: “We will continue to do everything necessary to ensure that Israel has the necessary means to defend itself.” Austin stated, adding “However, we are currently reviewing some near-term security assistance shipments in the context of the ongoing events in Rafah.”

He pointed out that there is no final determination regarding the fate of the shipment.

The statements of the US Secretary of Defense (Pentagon) come at a time when Israeli tanks and forces entered the eastern areas of Rafah on Monday evening, and seized the main border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. This was preceded by air strikes on the densely populated city.

He added: “We have been very clear about the steps that we would like Israel to take into consideration, to take care of these civilians before there is major fighting.” Austin said. “We would certainly like to not see any major fighting in Rafah but our focus is on making sure we protect civilians.”

The Qatari Al-Arabi news website reported on Tuesday, citing sources, that Washington had granted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “several days” To achieve a symbolic victory in the Palestinian city.

The Financial Times wrote that halting arms supplies would be the first known example of the United States withholding arms deliveries to the Jewish state since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the retaliatory attack in West Jerusalem. President Joe Biden's administration has reportedly approved the delivery of more than 100 arms shipments to Israel since October 7.

The outlet also quoted an unnamed senior US official who claimed that the temporarily halted delivery included 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs.

None of the delays were related to the $14.1 billion in additional funding for Israel passed last month, according to the senior official.

He added: “We are committed to ensuring that Israel receives every dollar allocated in the additional amount.” He reportedly said this, adding that Washington had just approved $827 million worth of weapons and equipment for Israel.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told Israel's Channel 12 news that he did not believe the United States would stop supplying weapons to Israel, but he called for the decision. “Very disappointing.”

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