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US still reviewing one bomb shipment for Israel: Blinken

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 12:34, 19 June 2024  
US still reviewing one bomb shipment for Israel: Blinken

Photo: Collected

The United States bristled Tuesday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested ally Washington was withholding critical weapons to his country as it wages war against Hamas in Gaza.

"Let me just start off by saying that we genuinely do not know what he's talking about," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

With the exception of "one particular shipment of munitions" that US officials were looking at closely, Jean-Pierre said "there are no other pauses. None."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said earlier Tuesday that Washington is "continuing to review one shipment... with regard to 2,000-pound bombs because of our concerns about their use in a densely populated area like Rafah," a city in southern Gaza.

But the top American diplomat said other weapons were moving as usual and that Washington was "making sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself."

The pointed reaction from the White House came hours after Netanyahu said Blinken had assured him the US government was working "day and night" to address the delay in the arrival of the weapons.

In a video statement, Netanyahu said that while he appreciated America's support during the Gaza crisis, he also said he told Blinken "it's inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel."

The United States is Israel's main military backer, but the White House has voiced frustration over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza, where Israel has conducted more than eight months of operations against Hamas.

The unprecedented October 7 attack by Palestinian militants on southern Israel that triggered the war resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Hamas militants also seized 251 hostages, of whom Israel believes 116 remain in Gaza, including 41 who the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive aimed at eliminating Hamas has killed at least 37,372 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory's health ministry.