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Pentagon chief heads to Israel, says no conditions on US arms transfers

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington has "not placed any conditions" on military hardware sent to Israel amid its campaign in Gaza, even as UN officials warn the IDF's siege of the Palestinian enclave violates international law.
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin opens an in-person Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base, southwestern Germany, on April 21, 2023. - The United States are hosting the meeting to discuss further support for Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelensky pushed Western allies to send more fighter jets and long-range missiles. Representatives from around 50 countries gather at the US Ramstein Air Base to coordinate their backing for Kyiv, as battles with Russia rage in the east of the cou

WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will land in Israel tomorrow in a sign of Washington's support amid Israel's ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.

Austin is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and members of the newly formed war cabinet for "in depth" discussions about their "operational planning and their objectives" for the conflict, a senior US defense official told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.

The announcement of Austin's trip comes just a day after top US diplomat Antony Blinken pledged Washington's continual backing for Israel's defense. The Biden administration has been rushing military aid to Israel while rallying a blitz of diplomacy to dissuade Iran-backed groups in neighboring countries from joining in the conflict.

The United States has already begun transferring Iron Dome air defense interceptors and is reportedly sending air-to-ground offensive munitions as Israel continues to pummel targets in Gaza.

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