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Biden: Major Rafah invasion would halt US arms supplies | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News



Biden: Major Rafah invasion would halt US arms supplies | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

US President Joe Biden says he will halt some shipments of weapons to Israel if the country conducts a major invasion of Rafah in the Gaza Strip’s south. This comes as his defense secretary says Washington has already paused a shipment of bombs due to the concerns over a possible invasion.

Biden made the remark in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

It was the first time Biden referred to a halt in the supply of weapons since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began last October.

Secretary Lloyd Austin testified before members of a Senate committee. He reassured them about the commitment to Israel’s security, although he said officials in the Biden administration are “reviewing” the assistance in relation to “unfolding events” in Gaza.

Austin said, “Israel shouldn’t launch a major attack in Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians that are in that battle space.”

He also said officials have not made a “final determination” on how to proceed with the shipment.

An Israeli military spokesperson addressed the issue at a conference.

He said US support since the conflict with Hamas began has been at an “unprecedented scale.”

He added any “disputes” are resolved “behind closed doors.”

Negotiators from Israel and Hamas are weighing the latest proposals for a ceasefire while tracking the fighting in and around Rafah, a city home to many evacuees.

Israeli forces seized control of a crossing essential for the delivery of humanitarian aid — and have kept it closed.

Those troops say they have reopened another crossing to allow supplies into Gaza.

Still, US diplomats say the flow of aid is “unacceptable.” And they want to see a “dramatic change.”

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