US holds up some arms to Israel, sources say

By Mike Stone, Steve Holland and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden‘s administration has been holding up certain Boeing-made arms shipments to Israel, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, in what two of them said was an apparent political message to the close U.S. ally.

The shipments, which have been delayed for at least two weeks, involved Boeing-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which convert dumb bombs into precision-guided ones, as well as Small Diameter Bombs.

The sources did not elaborate further.

The White House and Pentagon declined comment. The news of a delayed arms shipment was first reported by Axios over the weekend and Politico first reported on the types of arms delayed and the reasoning on Tuesday.

Without addressing whether there had been a suspension in arms shipments, the Pentagon said on Monday that there had not been a policy decision to withhold arms from Israel, America’s closest Middle East ally.

Still, the delays appeared to be the first since Biden’s administration offered its full support to Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed about 1,200 people with about 250 others abducted, of whom 133 are believed to remain in captivity in Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas has led to a seven-month-long military campaign that has killed a total of 34,789 Palestinians, most of them civilians, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The conflict has also left many of Gaza’s 2.3 million people on the brink of starvation and sparked protests in the U.S. demanding that universities and Biden withdraw support for Israel — including the provision of weaponry.

A senior Israeli official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, did not confirm any specific hold-up in arms supplies but appeared to take the reports in stride: “As the prime minister has already said, if we have to fight with our fingernails, then we’ll do what we have to do.”

(Reporting by Mike Stone, Steve Holland, Phil Stewart, Caitlin Webber and David Ljunggren; additioanl reporting by Dan Williams in JerusalemEditing by Doina Chiacu and David Gregorio)

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