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US secretly increased weapons supplies to Israel – Bloomberg

Among the items being provided by Washington are missiles for Apache helicopters and 155mm artillery shells, the media outlet claims

The US Department of Defense has allegedly ramped up weapons deliveries to Israel without making any public announcements, Bloomberg has reported. The media outlet claimed that the deliveries of artillery shells, which supposedly feature prominently on Israel’s wish list, continue despite protests by dozens of relief organizations.  

The US has for decades been Israel’s closest ally and a major supplier of weapons. Following Hamas’ surprise attack on the country on October 7, Washington quickly came to Israel’s rescue, providing it with Iron Dome air defense missiles and smart bombs.  

In its report on Wednesday, Bloomberg, citing an internal Defense Department list dated late October, claimed that the Pentagon had been dipping into its stocks at home and in Europe to furnish Israel with 36,000 rounds of 30mm cannon ammunition and approximately 2,000 Hellfire Laser Guided missiles for the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. The list also included 57,000 155mm High Explosive artillery shells, as well as mortars, rifles, and night vision devices, among other items. Israel reportedly requested 200 armor-piercing Switchblade 600 strike drones, which the US military does not have in its inventory. 

When asked for comment, the Defense Department said in a statement that it was “leveraging several avenues — from internal stocks to US industry channels – to ensure Israel has the means to defend itself.” Officials added that “this security assistance continues to arrive on a near-daily basis.”  

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Bloomberg pointed out that the deliveries have apparently continued despite the Biden administration publicly calling on Israel to exercise restraint and try to avoid civilian casualties during its ongoing operation against Hamas in Gaza.  

On Monday, thirty relief groups sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, urging him to halt  the deliveries of 155mm shells in particular. They argued that, since Gaza is “one of the world’s most densely populated places, 155mm artillery shells are inherently indiscriminate.”

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved a bill proposed by Speaker Mike Johnson over the weekend to avoid a looming government shutdown this Friday.  

Aid for Ukraine and Israel is conspicuously absent from the stopgap legislation, which aims to secure funding for US government agencies through mid-January and early February. 

The Biden administration originally asked Congress last month to approve a massive $106 billion assistance package for Ukraine and Israel. However, Republicans opposed the plan, leading to a political deadlock.  

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