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U.S. may slow down arms supplies to Israel to impact Gaza operation

U.S. may slow down arms supplies to Israel to impact Gaza operation U.S. President Joe Biden (photo: Getty Images)

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is discussing the possibility of using arms sales to Israel as leverage. In particular, to persuade the Israeli government to heed U.S. calls to reduce the scale of the operation in the Gaza Strip, reports NBC News.

At the direction of the White House, the Pentagon is studying what weapons requested by Israel could be used as leverage, the sources said. According to them, no decisions have been made.

According to the sources, Israeli officials continue to ask the administration for more weapons, including large bombs, ammunition, and air defense systems.

After several weeks of private requests from the administration have yielded fewer results than the White House would like, the U.S. is considering slowing or suspending shipments in the hope that this will force the Israelis to take action, such as opening humanitarian corridors to provide more aid to Palestinian civilians.

Among the weapons the U.S. has discussed as leverage are 155mm artillery shells and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which are guidance kits that turn blunt bombs into precision munitions. The administration will likely continue to provide other conversion kits that make Israeli munitions more accurate, officials said.

They are unlikely to slow down the delivery of air defense systems, although the idea has been considered, as well as other systems that could protect Israeli civilians, officials said.

Israel's war with the Palestinian group Hamas

On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants launched a military attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. In the first few days, radical Islamists killed 1,200 civilians and soldiers and kidnapped about 250 people.

In late October, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the purpose of the operation was to completely destroy Hamas' operational and governmental capabilities, as well as to release hostages.

On January 22, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a new major offensive on the western part of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The operation is accompanied by large-scale fighting.

January 24 Israel and Hamas reach a preliminary agreement on a one-month ceasefire and a new deal to release hostages.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel to stop causing additional damage to civilians in the war zone.