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U.S. delays arms shipments to Israel amid Rafah tensions

The Biden administration is delaying the sale of at least two arms shipments to Israel amid mounting concern about the country's plan to expand a military operation in southern Gaza that could dramatically increase the conflict's death toll, said four people familiar with the matter.

The White House and State Department declined to explain the decision, but it is the first known instance of a delay in U.S. arms transfers since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack into Israel that killed more than 1,200 people.

Since then, the United States has surged tens of thousands of bombs and missiles to its ally even as huge swaths of Gaza have been turned to rubble and the death toll among Palestinians has ballooned to more than 34,000, many of them women and children, according to local health authorities. President Biden has described the bombing as "indiscriminate," but he has been reluctant to leverage weapons transfers to try to force a change in Israel's behavior.


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