The US is providing Israel with a range of weapons and military equipment to help it counter the Hamas militant group. The conflict, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives on both sides, does not seem to stop anytime soon.
The current situation
As Israeli troops push deeper into Gaza, their warplanes hit hundreds of Hamas sites on Sunday, the Israeli army said. This is the second stage of a war that has lasted three weeks, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. UN chief António Guterres urged an urgent truce to help aid delivery.
US military aid to Israel
During talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 10, President Joe Biden pledged to send additional military aid to Israel, including ammunition and interceptors, to replenish the “Iron Dome” defense system. Biden also expressed support for Israel and promised to stand by the country during the ongoing conflict with Gaza.
What are Tamir missiles?
Tamir missiles, made by US-based RTX (formerly Raytheon) and Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, were among the first items to be sent to Israel after the October 7 attack. The US military uses similar weapons called SkyHunter missiles.
According to News Week, the missiles are used by the mobile Iron Dome system to intercept and destroy incoming air attacks detected by radar. Each Tamir interceptor costs around $40,000, as per Foreign Policy. Iron Dome has a success rate of about 90 percent.
The US aid for the Iron Dome system also includes JDAM kits, which are used to upgrade navigation systems on “dumb bombs” and make them precision-guided weapons, or “smart bombs.”
The first shipment of weapons also had about 1,000 small-diameter intelligent bombs. The bombs weigh around 250 pounds each and are guided by a GPS navigation system, as per The New York Times.
Last week, reports said that the US would be sending Israel tens of thousands of artillery shells that were meant for Ukraine. Department of Defense officials said that the 155mm shells were originally part of a stockpile for Israel but were moved to Europe before the Middle East conflict.
The exact amount of all weapons sent to Israel this month is not precise. Part of the effort to help Israel includes speeding up shipments of weapons and equipment that Israel has already bought from the US.
The US has also sent Navy warships and aircraft carriers to the region, along with thousands of troops and Air Force fighter jets. The buildup is meant to help Israel with planning and intelligence operations rather than directly interfering in the conflict.
Biden asked Congress for $100 billion in extra funding to help Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and security along the US-Mexico border last week. While some have opposed bundling the aid, most of Congress is in favor of sending more aid to Israel.
However, a few Republicans who strongly oppose more help to Ukraine could make it difficult to pass the funding package through the House of Representatives. New House Speaker Mike Johnson has yet to reveal his position.
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