In addition to ground-penetrating munitions, the United States has also supplied Israel with several other types of bombs and artillery shells.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the United States has provided Israel with so-called “bunker buster” bombs and a variety of other munitions for its war on Gaza.

Washington has transferred 100 BLU-109 bombs to Israel, which are designed to penetrate solid structures before exploding, the report said, citing unnamed US officials.

The bomb carries a warhead weighing more than 900 kilograms (19.80 pounds) and has previously been used by the United States in conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan.

It is not the only type of ammunition the US has provided to Israel for its war against the besieged enclave, where more than 15,000 Palestinians, including at least 6,150 children, have been killed so far. Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war left 1,200 people dead.

In contrast to the U.S.’s regular arms updates on the war in Ukraine, the Pentagon remains largely silent on the extent of arms support to Israel, while Israel’s military operations in Gaza face international condemnation.

The WSJ report said that the supply of U.S. weapons to Israel since the start of the war included 15,000 bombs and 57,000 155mm artillery shells, carried mostly on C-17 military cargo planes.

Washington also sent more than 5,000 Mk82 unguided bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 bombs, about 1,000 small-diameter GBU-39 bombs and about 3,000 JDAMs, a guidance kit that turns unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions, it said.

This is in addition to the billions of dollars Israel receives each year in U.S. financial support for its military operations.

According to the WSJ, large U.S.-made bombs have been used in some of Israel’s deadliest attacks on the Gaza Strip, including an attack that leveled an apartment block in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing more than 100 people. Israel said the attack was justified because it killed a Hamas leader.

Intense Israeli airstrikes on Gaza began again on Friday, shortly after the end of a week-long ceasefire that saw dozens of prisoners held in Gaza exchanged for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Dozens of Palestinians were killed less than 24 hours after attacks resumed.

The Israeli army, which has repeatedly called on Palestinians to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip as part of its ground operations, said on Saturday that parts of the southern Gaza Strip were now also a combat zone. Local people and human rights groups have repeatedly stated that there is no safe place in Gaza.

“Question in Congress”

Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro said the report on the delivery of heavy penetration bombs to Israel raised new questions about continued US arms transfers to the country.

“These are large bombs that the US has used in the past in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but mainly in open areas… Now Israel is using these bombs in a very different environment in Gaza, against a densely populated one Civilian population,” Zhou-Castro said.

“Many people in Congress are now asking whether it is a good idea to continue to distribute these ‘bunker bombs’ and are also calling for more transparency,” she said.

The penetrating bombs could theoretically target the tunnels that Hamas uses to transport personnel and ammunition. However, the tunnels lie beneath a densely populated urban area, which would mean that the use of the bombs would result in many more civilian casualties.

In the face of growing international pressure for a full ceasefire, the United States has fully supported Israel’s war effort. Washington has repeatedly said it has called on Israel to try to limit civilian casualties even as key hospitals in the Gaza Strip are under siege.

Source : www.aljazeera.com

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