U.S. approves sale of $1.8 billion in advanced munitions to Israel


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration approved the sale of $1.8 billion worth of munitions to Israel, including precision guidance devices and bunker-busting bombs.

The sale announced Wednesday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency includes 14,500 JDAMs — GPS-guided precision kits that attach to bombs. Also included are 50 BLU-113 bunker-busting bombs, which are capable of penetrating 20 feet of concrete.

President Barack Obama first authorized the sale of the bombs in 2009, when Israeli concerns about Iran’s nuclear capability began to intensify.

The package also includes 3,000 Hellfire missiles. The Obama administration suspended the sale of the missiles last summer during Israel’s operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, reportedly out of concern for the mounting civilian casualties in the war.

Obama has sought to assuage regional concerns about an emerging nuclear deal with Iran. Last week he said he would enhance U.S. defense cooperation with a number of Persian Gulf Arab states.

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