Shared from the 2/18/2024 The Age eEdition

US to send more bombs and arms to Israel

Gaza War


The Biden administration is preparing to send bombs and other weapons to Israel that would add to its military arsenal even as the US pushes for a ceasefire in Gaza, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing current and former US 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 is estimated to be ‘‘tens of millions of dollars’’.

Details of the delivery came as Gaza’s largest functioning hospital was under siege by Israeli forces, leaving patients and doctors helpless in the chaos, and warplanes struck Rafah, the last refuge for Palestinians in the enclave, officials said.

Israeli forces remained in Nasser Hospital in the town of Khan Younis after raiding it early on Friday. The Gaza Health Ministry said five intensive care patients died due to power outages and lack of oxygen supply caused by the attack.

Israel said it moved into the hospital because Hamas militants were hiding there. The Israeli military said its troops detained more than 20 militants in the hospital who participated in the October 7 attacks on Israel and dozens of others for questioning. Hamas denies there were militants in the hospital, describing the claim as ‘‘lies aimed to cover up for destroying hospitals.’’

The Gaza Health Ministry said the hospital lost power and remained without electricity, jeopardising patient care. But the Israeli military said it repaired one generator and provided another, ensuring ‘‘all vital systems continued to operate’’.

The ministry said Israeli forces inside Nasser Hospital forced women and children into the maternity department, which it turned into a military area. Women were not allowed to take any of their belongings.

According to the ministry, Israeli soldiers stopped an aid convoy outside the hospital, which was unable to deliver supplies. The military said it provided aid including baby food and water.

The incursion at the hospital raised alarm about patients, medical workers and displaced Palestinians sheltering there.

The latest fighting in Gaza began when Iran-backed Hamas sent fighters into Israel on October 7, killing 1200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages.

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.

‘‘There are still critically injured and sick patients that are inside the hospital,’’ said Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson for the World Health Organisation, which said its staff was trying to reach the hospital after the Israeli raid.

‘‘There is an urgent need to deliver fuel to ensure the continuation of the provision of lifesaving services.’’ Reuters, AP

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