US resupplies Israel with arms

2014-07-31 08:54

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Washington – The US has allowed Israel, waging an offensive in the Gaza Strip, to tap a local US arms stockpile in the past week to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds.

The munitions were located inside Israel as part of a programme managed by the US military called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel, which stores munitions locally for US use that Israel can also access in emergency situations.

Israel, however, did not cite an emergency when it made its latest request about 10 days ago, said a US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The US allowed Israel to access the strategic stockpile anyway to resupply itself with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds to deplete older stocks that would eventually need to be refreshed.

“They didn’t ask for it from there, but we gave it to them so we could rotate our stocks,” said the official.

Additional Israeli requests for US-manufactured ammunition were also being processed in the US, added the official. The official did not offer further details on quantities or costs of ammunition already supplied or requested.

Israel’s embassy in Washington refused to comment about the resupply request, including whether it asked for the ammunition because of its operations in Gaza.

Separately, US legislators are working in Congress to provide millions of dollars in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield.

The US Senate Appropriations Committee added $225 million (R2.4 billion) for Iron Dome to a spending bill intended mainly to provide money to handle an influx of thousands of Central American children across the US-Mexico border.

More than 1 300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel began its offensive on July 8.

Israel said its aim was to halt cross-border rocket fire and destroy the tunnel network of Hamas.

On the Israeli side, 56 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

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