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Israel's Netanyahu urges US to lift restrictions on weapons shipments

IANS | June 19, 2024 10:58 AM

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the White House to lift all restrictions on weapons shipments to Israel, imposed by US President Joe Biden's administration over the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza's Rafah.

In a video statement released by his office, Netanyahu said on Tuesday that "it's inconceivable that in the past few months, the (Biden) administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel" as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

Netanyahu said that during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Israel last week, Blinken "assured" him that the administration is "working day and night to remove these bottlenecks".

"I certainly hope that's the case. It should be the case, " he added.

In May, before Israeli tanks raided Rafah, Biden said that the US remained committed to Israel's defence, promising to supply Iron Dome's anti-rocket interceptors and other defensive weapons.

However, he warned that if Israel advanced into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

The measure, imposed due to concerns about the humanitarian impact on nearly 1.4 million displaced people sheltering in Rafah, includes halting the delivery of 1, 800 bombs weighing 900 kg each and 1, 700 bombs weighing 230 kg each.

Israel launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on October 7, 2023, during which about 1, 200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage.

Since the outbreak of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict in October last year, Israeli forces have killed more than 37, 300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were civilians, according to the enclave's health authorities.

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