US Paused Israel's Weapons Shipment To Prevent Escalating Rafah Tensions: Report

The Biden administration reportedly put a hold on a weapons shipment to Israel, amid growing concerns over potential Israeli military action in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

What Happened: An unnamed senior administration revealed that the U.S. government suspended a shipment of weapons to Israel last week, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The move is seen as an attempt by the Biden administration to deter a full-scale Israeli assault on Rafah, home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

The official disclosed that the U.S. began to closely examine proposed transfers of specific weapons to Israel as Israeli leaders appeared to be on the brink of a decision on a Rafah incursion.

“As a result of that review, we have paused one shipment of weapons last week. It consists of 1,800 2,000-lb bombs and 1,700 500-lb bombs,” the official said.

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The official also expressed the administration’s concern about the use of the 2,000-lb bombs in densely populated urban areas. The decision on how to proceed with the shipment is yet to be made.

Four sources confirmed that the delayed shipments, which have been on hold for at least two weeks, included Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bombs.

Why It Matters: Israel had been gearing up for a significant military operation in Rafah, with plans to evacuate Palestinian civilians and target the last Hamas stronghold.

Despite Hamas’s acceptance of a “softened” ceasefire proposal, Israeli forces seized control of the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, the main gateway between Gaza and Egypt, as ceasefire negotiations faltered.

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Photo by Ilin Sergey on Shutterstock

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