US To Send $320 Million In Precision Bomb Kits To Israel While Pushing To Pause Gaza Bombardment

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Biden administration plans to send $320 million in Spice precision bomb kits to Israel while U.S. diplomats pressure Israel’s military to ease its aerial bombardment of Gaza, The Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. officials are concerned about the rising civilian death toll, now in the thousands, stemming from Israel’s military operations in Gaza aiming to dismantle the Hamas terrorist organization, according to the WSJ. On Oct. 31, the administration notified Congress of a deal to provide the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies that can convert unguided munitions into precision munitions, the WSJ reported, citing correspondence.

The plan involves transferring the weapons from Rafael USA to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, where they would come under the control of the Israeli defense ministry, according to the WSJ. It also involves assistance with support, assembly, testing and other technology. (RELATED: Iraqi PM Meets With Iranian Leadership, Praises Hamas One Day After Meeting With Antony Blinken)

In 2020, the Trump administration sought approval from Congress to transfer $402 million in Spice bomb assemblies to Israel, the WSJ reported.

“We have seen some indications that there are efforts being applied in certain scenarios to try to minimize, but I don’t want to overstate that,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Monday, according to CNN. “Many, many thousands of innocent people” have been killed in Gaza.

Israel launched an invasion of Gaza to eliminate Hamas after militants from the group murdered an estimated 1,400 Israelis, primarily civilians, and took more than 200 hostages in a brutal surprise incursion on Oct. 7.

The opening operations of Israel’s Gaza campaign involved heavy aerial bombardments on Hamas, clearing the way for Israeli ground forces to move in.

Hamas uses civilian facilities to conceal operational centers, weapons stashes and other military targets, Israel says.

The administration is “not giving [the Israelis] tactical advice on how to conduct their operations on the ground,” Kirby added, according to CNN. “We’re not sitting down next to them as they develop the target lists and how they’re going to prosecute each target.”

However, U.S. diplomats and national security leaders are pressuring Israel to reduce airstrikes amid growing international outcry over civilian losses in Gaza, the WSJ reported. U.S. officials believe Israel will eventually concede and pause the offensive over days or weeks while international organizations deliver food, fuel and supplies to Gaza civilians.

President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order a temporary humanitarian ceasefire even without the release of hostages in a Monday call, according to the WSJ. Israel previously said freeing hostages is a necessary precondition to any pause in the fighting.

“We believe we’re at the beginning of these conversations, not the end,” Kirby said, according to the WSJ.

The White House, Department of Defense and the State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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