Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) - Monitoring: The United States has given so-called ‘bunker buster’ bombs and an array of other munitions to Israel for its war on Gaza, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Washington has transferred 100 BLU-109 bombs to Israel that are meant to penetrate hardened structures before exploding, the report said, citing unnamed US officials.
The bomb carries a warhead weighing more than 900 kilograms (19,80 pounds) and has previously been used by the US in conflicts including the war in Afghanistan.
It is not the only type of ammunition provided by the US to Israel for the war on the besieged enclave, which has so far killed more than 15,000 Palestinians, including at least 6,150 children. The October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that started the war killed 1,200 people.
Unlike the regular arms updates by the US about the war in Ukraine, the Pentagon has remained mostly silent on its level of weapons support for Israel amid international condemnation of Israeli military operations in Gaza.
The WSJ report said a surge of US arms to Israel since the start of the war has included 15,000 bombs and 57,000 155mm artillery shells that have primarily been carried on C-17 military cargo planes.
Washington has also sent more than 5,000 unguided Mk82 bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 bombs, about 1,000 GBU-39 small-diameter bombs, and approximately 3,000 JDAMs, a guidance kit that turns unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions, it said.
This is on top of the billions of dollars Israel receives each year in US financial support for its military operations.
According to the WSJ, large bombs made by the US have been used in some of the deadliest Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, including a strike that levelled an apartment block in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing more than 100 people. Israel said the attack was justified as it killed a Hamas leader.
Israel’s intense aerial bombing of Gaza restarted shortly after the end of a weeklong truce on Friday that saw dozens of captives held in Gaza exchanged for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Many dozens of Palestinians have already been killed less than 24 hours after the strikes resumed.
‘Questioning in Congress’
Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro said the report on the delivery of heavy-duty penetration bombs to Israel has raised new questions about continued US arms transfers to the country.
“These are major bombs that the US has used in the past in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but mainly in open areas … Now Israel is using these bombs in a very different environment in Gaza, on a densely populated civilian population,” Zhou-Castro said.
“Many people are now questioning in Congress whether continuing to give these ‘bunker bombs’ is a good idea and also calling for more transparency,” she said.
The penetration bombs could theoretically be used to target the tunnels that Hamas uses to move around personnel and munitions. However, the tunnels are located under a densely populated urban area, which would mean using the bombs would lead to many more civilian casualties.
The US has fully backed the Israeli war efforts in the face of growing international pressure for a total ceasefire. Washington has repeatedly said it has asked Israel to try to limit civilian casualties, even as it lay siege to Gaza’s main hospitals./Aljazeera