According to an Axios report, the Biden administration will send Israel thousands of 155-millimeter artillery shells that were initially designated for Ukraine.
The move comes as the Pentagon struggles to find more precision weapons to rush to Israel after Hamas’ shocking attack on October 7, along with keeping U.S. stockpiles ready and sending weapons to Ukraine.
A U.S. military official told Axios he had information but couldn’t provide details about specific weapons being supplied to Israel.
“We are engaged in comprehensive coordination across the Department of Defense. This includes working closely with our combatant commands to ascertain which munitions and equipment from the U.S. inventory can be quickly made available for Israel’s needs,” said the person.
Demand for 155mm artillery rounds has skyrocketed in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. However, the allies’ supplies for their defense have been depleted as they have rushed shells to Ukraine, which uses thousands of rounds per day.
The chief weapons buyer from the Pentagon said last month the U.S. planned to increase the monthly production of 155 mm artillery shells over the coming years to 100,000 in 2025.
“We’re going to be at 100,000 per month in 2025. We were at 14,000 per month 6 or 8 months ago; we are now at 28,000 a month today,” said Bill LaPlante on September 15.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 2,778 people and injured 9,700.
Over 1,400 people in Israel have been killed. The majority were civilians murdered during Hamas’ October 7 attack. The assault also resulted in about 200 individuals being held hostage in Gaza. Hamas militants in Gaza have launched rockets daily, aiming at cities across Israel.
Oval Office address followed Israel visit by Biden
President Joe Biden addressed the nation Thursday night from the Oval Office about the U.S.’s response to the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel and the regional war.
The address followed a day after the president visited with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli officials in Tel Aviv. Israeli officials and Biden discussed the ongoing war and the growing humanitarian crisis in the area.
President Biden has pledged to support Israel but is expected to announce $100 million in humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza.
“I was very blunt about the need to support getting humanitarian aid to Gaza — get it to Gaza and do it quickly,” said Biden to reporters Wednesday on his return trip to Washington, D.C.
The president said he “got no pushback, virtually none” from Netanyahu.
Israel declared war against Hamas following the terrorist group’s infiltration on October 7 after thousands of rockets were fired at residential areas, brutally killing over a thousand civilians. Hundreds of others were taken hostage. At least 4,200 people have been killed on both sides during the war. Over 30 American citizens have died in Israel, with 12 not accounted for.
President Biden also discussed “Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine” during the Thursday address. He asked for billions more in military assistance for both Ukraine and Israel. The funding request is expected to be rolled out formally Friday but will likely total $100 billion over the next year. The total figure is expected to include funding for the defense of Taiwan and managing the influx of migrants at the southern border with Mexico.