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US rushing air defences, munitions to Israel, defence official says

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WASHINGTON: The US military is “surging” fresh supplies of air defences, munitions and other security assistance to Israel to help it respond to an unprecedented weekend attack by Hamas, a senior US defence official said on Monday (Oct 9).

“Planes have already taken off,” the US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to Pentagon reporters.

“We are surging support to Israel … We remain in constant ongoing contact with our counterparts in Israel to determine and then support their most urgent requirements.”

The United States has not yet detailed the extent of Israel’s requests for security assistance. But the US defence official said Washington was contacting the defence industry to expedite pending Israeli orders, and looking at the US military’s own stockpiles to help fill Israeli gaps.

The official also appeared to dismiss concerns that the United States might struggle to supply Israel at the same time that it funnels weaponry to Ukraine. “We are able to continue our support both to Ukraine, to Israel, and maintain our own global readiness,” the official said.

Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, killing hundreds of Israelis and seizing dozens of hostages. The attack led Israel to declare war, and the spiralling violence threatens to start a major new war in the Middle East.

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