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Biden admits Israel killed civilians with US bombs

The munitions have been used against population centers, the US president has said

Non-combatants have been killed by US-made bombs during Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza, US President Joe Biden admitted in a CNN interview on Wednesday.

The US leader warned that Washington would halt bomb shipments to West Jerusalem – its main ally in the Middle East – should Israel expand its offensive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden told the news channel. Earlier, the US had paused a shipment of more than a thousand 2,000-pound (900kg) bombs slated for Israel amid concerns of the use of the larger munitions in the overcrowded conditions of Rafah.

“We’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells,” the US leader said, referring to them as “the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities.”

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its methods have already faced increased scrutiny as the military operation in overcrowded Gaza stretches into its seventh month. According to UN estimates, the population of the enclave was just over 2.2 million before the conflict began. Around 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are taking refuge in the small town of Rafah, a densely packed area that would suffer massive loss of life from these bombs being used.

The IDF already used 2,000-pound MK-84 bombs in strikes on Jabalia and around the Al-Shati refugee camp last year, according to an investigation by the New York Times in December. The use of heavy bombs added to the ever-rising death toll in Gaza, which is approaching 35,000, according to the local health authorities.

The US launched a probe several months ago into whether Israel violated international humanitarian law in its war in Gaza. The report was abruptly delayed after Israel launched its ‘limited’ incursion into Rafah, and is now expected in the coming weeks.

 

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