Gaza fighting causes U.S. to delay shipment of ammunition to Israel
January 14, 2009
The U.S. military has delayed a planned shipment of U.S. ammunition bound for Israel because of escalated fighting in the Gaza Strip, a Pentagon spokesman said.
The delivery of ammunition to a pre-positioned U.S. munitions stockpile in Israel was a previously-scheduled shipment, labeled as routine, "and not in support of the current situation in Gaza," said Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.
The shipment — which had been planned since October — was called off because of safety concerns for the U.S.-contracted ships that had been slated to deliver the shipment to Israel, he said. The U.S. Military Sealift Command routinely contracts civilian ships to transport cargo, and MSC-contracted ships were to make two trips from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod this month to deliver the ammunition.
"I can confirm that the U.S. munitions shipment has been delayed, and that EUCOM is developing an appropriate course of action to deliver the items ... in Israel," Ryder said in an e-mail.
Officials at both the U.S. European Command and Europe-based Military Sealift Command referred all queries to the Pentagon.
On Dec. 27, Israel launched an offensive against Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, bombarding the area with air strikes and sent in ground forces a week later. As of Tuesday, 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers, have died, according to The Associated Press. More than 900 Palestinians have been killed and 4,000 wounded according to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
On Monday, the council voted in favor of an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip, according to a posting on the organization’s Web site.
The resolution calls for an immediate cessation of Israeli military attacks.