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U.S. State Department approves sale of artillery shells to Israel

U.S. State Department approves sale of artillery shells to Israel U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (photo: Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has approved the sale of 155mm artillery shells and related equipment to Israel without congressional review, according to Reuters.

The Pentagon noted that Blinken determined there is an extraordinary situation that requires the immediate sale of artillery shells to Israel, allowing the deal to proceed without congressional approval.

Israel requested the inclusion of fuses, percussion caps, and charges in its previous request for 155mm shells. The total value of the sale is estimated at $147.5 million.

The deal comes at a time when Israel is intensifying its offensive in the Gaza Strip, and the U.S. is urging Tel Aviv to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza and calling on Israel to end the war in the coming weeks.

This is the second instance this month where the Biden administration has approved arms sales to Israel bypassing Congress. On December 9, the State Department also used its extraordinary powers to authorize the sale of around 14,000 tank rounds to Israel.

Aid from U.S. to Israel

The United States has been supporting the Israeli side since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas. They have deployed several aircraft carriers and thousands of soldiers off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea to prevent the involvement of other countries or groups in the conflict.

The U.S. has also confirmed the shipment of two Iron Dome systems to Israel, crucial for protecting the country from rocket attacks by Hamas militants.

On December 9, the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, arguing that it would only benefit Palestinian Hamas militants.