US has agreed to send more bombs and warplanes to Israel, sources say

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The U.S. in recent days authorized the transfer of billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel, two sources familiar with the effort said on Friday, even as Washington publicly expresses concerns about an anticipated Israeli military offensive in Rafah.

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, said the sources, who confirmed a report in the Washington Post.

Washington gives $3.8 billion in annual military assistance to Israel, its longtime ally.

The package comes as Israel faces strong international criticism over its continued bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza and as some members of President Joe Biden’s party call for him to cut U.S. military aid.

The United States has been rushing air defenses and munitions to Israel, but some Democrats and Arab American groups have criticized the Biden administration’s steadfast support of Israel, which they say provides it with a sense of impunity.

Biden on Friday acknowledged “the pain being felt” by many Arab Americans over the war in Gaza and over U.S. support for Israel and its military offensive.

Still, he has vowed continued support for Israel despite an increasingly public rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The White House declined comment on the weapons transfers.

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision on weapons follows a visit to Washington by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant this week when he discussed Israel’s weapons needs with U.S. counterparts.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gallant, apparently seeking to cool U.S.-Israeli tensions, said he stressed the importance of U.S. ties to his country’s security and of maintaining Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region, including its air capabilities.

The war erupted on Oct. 7 after Hamas militants attacked Israel and killed 1,200 people and seized 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel has retaliated by launching an air and ground assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 32,000 people, health authorities in Gaza say.

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