US plans to send weapons to Israel even as Biden pushes for ceasefire, WSJ reports

By Thomson Reuters Feb 16, 2024 | 10:53 PM

(Reuters) – The Biden administration is preparing to send bombs and other weapons to Israel that would add to its military arsenal even as the U.S. pushes for a ceasefire in Gaza, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing current and former U.S. officials.

The proposed arms delivery includes MK-82 bombs and KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions that add precision guidance to bombs, and FMU-139 bomb fuses, the Journal reported, adding that the value of is estimated to be “tens of millions of dollars.”

The proposed delivery is still being internally reviewed by the administration, the report added, citing a U.S. official, who said the details of the proposal could change before the administration notifies congressional committee leaders who would need to approve the transfer.

The U.S. State Department and Defense Department, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the report.

As of December 2023, the Biden administration had skipped congressional review of weapons sale to Israel twice.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for continuing to supply arms to Israel as allegations pile up that American-made weapons have been used in strikes that have killed or injured civilians.

The war in Gaza began when Iran-backed Hamas sent fighters into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s air and ground offensive has since devastated much of Gaza, killing 28,775 people, also mostly civilians according to Palestinian health authorities, and forcing nearly all of its more than 2 million inhabitants from their homes.

(Reporting by Gursimran Kaur in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Kanjyik Ghosh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)