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Biden says he would stop more arms shipments if Israel invades Rafah: NPR

Biden says he would stop more arms shipments if Israel invades Rafah: NPR

President Biden is seen at the White House on May 2. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said he would stop some arms shipments to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a full invasion of Rafah.

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President Biden is seen at the White House on May 2. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said he would stop some arms shipments to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a full invasion of Rafah.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden said he had threatened to confiscate some weapons from Israel if Israel carried out a major ground invasion of Rafah, saying civilians had died as a result of the use of some bombs.

“I made it clear that if they went to Rafah – they haven’t done it yet – if they went to Rafah, I would not provide them with the weapons that were used historically to deal with Rafah, to dealing with cities – that are dealing with this problem,” Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Israel moved into the city on Tuesday in what the White House described as an apparently limited operation.

Biden’s comments, broadcast Wednesday evening on CNN, follow confirmation that the administration had already suspended a shipment of more than 3,000 bombs over concerns they could be used by Israel on the southern city of Rafah sheltering more than a million civilians in Gaza.

A senior administration official confirmed the pause to NPR earlier Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. White House spokespeople declined Monday and Tuesday to speak publicly about the pause, which was first reported by Axios.

The suspended shipment included 1,700 500-pound bombs and 1,800 2,000-pound bombs.

The 2,000-pound bombs are of particular concern to the U.S. administration given the impact they could have in dense urban areas, the official said.

On CNN, Biden discussed this deadly capability.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza because of these bombs and other attacks on population centers,” he said.

The currently suspended shipment is not part of the recently passed $95 billion foreign aid bill, which included $26 billion in aid and relief for Israel and Gaza. Israel will receive funding allocated by Congress for the bill, the official said.

Biden told CNN that the United States was not “giving up on Israel’s security,” including its support for the Iron Dome defense system, and was instead trying to limit the capacity for proactive military action.

The White House has pushed for an extended ceasefire in Gaza to allow the release of hostages still held there and an increase in humanitarian aid, and has warned Israel against a ground operation in Rafah.


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