Israel Pressures US For More Apache Helicopters Even While Owning Up To Mass Civilian Casualty Airstrikes

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Dec 29, 2023 - 02:40 PM

Already the bulk of Israel's military arsenal is courtesy of the US and the American taxpayer, following decades of foreign and defense aidand Israel is far and away the top recipient over the many yearsas well as weapons and ammo urgently rushed to Tel Aviv in the wake of the Oct.7 Hamas terror attacks.

But Israeli officials have been urging their American counterparts to send additional AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which some Israeli media reports say has already been denied. Apaches have been heavily relied on for air power and to disrupt Hamas ground operations throughout the conflict, equipped with heavy chain guns and Hellfire missiles.

Via Axios

Israel's defense minister has formally made the request, but as YNet reports: "The IDF has requested Apache attack helicopters from the United States but has been denied so far."

"The request was made to the Pentagon in recent weeks and was also raised by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during his meetings with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during his visit to Israel last week," the report says, adding: "Security sources suggest that a final decision on the potential acquisition has not been made, and Jerusalem is continuing to apply pressure."

Israel's current two squadrons of the Boeing-made Apaches have seen heavy use as YNet explains: "These squadrons have been conducting round-the-clock operations in Gaza since the beginning of the war." Israel's total number of Apaches in its arsenal are typically listed at 48.

While the White House has long said its defense aid to Israel will remain 'unconditional' - international pressure has mounted due to the unprecedented civilian death toll. Gaza's health ministry has cited a death toll of more than 21,000 killed over the past nearly three months of conflict.

Israel's military has of late even admitted to conducting mass casualty strikes against civilian camps, killing "dozens" of innocents, as The New York Times documented in a Thursday report:

The Israeli military said on Thursday that it had caused “unintended harm” to “uninvolved civilians” in two strikes this week on a densely packed Gaza Strip neighborhood, where, the local health authorities said, dozens were killed.

It was a rare admission of fault by the military over its conduct of the war. The military said it was targeting Hamas on Sunday when it launched two strikes on the central Gazan community of Al Maghazi, which has been flooded with Palestinians uprooted by war and crammed into homes by the dozen.

An IDF statement said, "A preliminary investigation revealed that additional buildings located near the targets were also hit during the strikes, which likely caused unintended harm to additional uninvolved civilians." It added, "The I.D.F. regrets the harm to uninvolved individuals, and is working to draw lessons from the incident."

AFP via Getty Images

One of Israel's arguments to Washington in pressing for more Apaches is that the sophisticated attack helicopters may allow for more precision operations against ground targets, given they go after targets in closer proximity compared to either mortar fire or missiles launched by fast-moving jets.