Biden says US will suspend arms deliveries to Israel in case of Rafah invasion

Biden says US will suspend arms deliveries to Israel in case of Rafah invasion
Biden says US will suspend arms deliveries to Israel in case of Rafah invasion

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden warned Israel on Wednesday that the United States would stop supplying it with weapons if Israeli forces carry out an assault in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

“I made it clear that if they enter Rafah, I will not provide the weapons that have historically been used to take care of Rafah, to take care of the towns – which are taking care of this problem,” he said. Joe Biden in an interview with CNN.

The statements are the strongest publicly delivered yet by the US president as he attempts to deter an Israeli assault on Rafah.

Joe Biden acknowledged that weapons supplied by the United States to Israel had been used in the war against Hamas to kill Palestinian civilians.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza because of these bombs and other means used to attack population centers,” Joe Biden said in an interview with CNN, when asked about the bombs sent to Israel.

The Israeli army launched an operation this week in Rafah, where nearly half of the 2.3 million Gazans have taken refuge since the start of the fighting. Joe Biden said he did not consider Israel’s strikes a full-scale invasion because they did not target “population centers.”

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington had carefully reviewed the delivery of weapons that could be used in Rafah, and therefore suspended a shipment of 3,500 bombs.

Joe Biden’s interview aired hours after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed the US president’s decision last week.

The White House tenant said that the United States would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, particularly for the “Iron Dome” air defense systems.

“We will continue to ensure that Israel is secure with respect to Iron Dome and its ability to respond to the attacks that have been launched recently from the Middle East,” Joe Biden said. “But it’s, it’s just wrong. We’re not going to, we’re not going to provide weapons and ammunition.”

(With the contribution of Costas Pitas; French version Camille Raynaud)

by Jarrett Renshaw

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