United States will not give Israel weapons to attack Rafah, Biden says

'I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah,' Joe Biden told CNN

US President Joe Biden has said he will block the supply of American weapons to Israel which could be used as part of its military operation into the Gazan city of Rafah.

President Biden told CNN that the United States was still committed to Israel's defence, but that if its military goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used".

"I made it clear that if they go into Rafah - they haven't gone in Rafah yet - if they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, that deal with that problem," President Biden said.Chaos has engulfed the city of Rafah as talks of a full-scale Israeli invasion of the overcrowded city has circulated the war torn city.United Nations officials have confirmed more than 100,000 people have fled Rafah, following orders from Israel, after it declared its intention to target the city hoping to eliminate remaining Hamas fighters.

Officials have stated this mass movement of civilians is one of the largest since the conflict began on October 7.The UN says northern Gaza is already in a state of “full-blown famine”. Rafah remains the main point of entry for humanitarian aid in Gaza, ensuring people have access to clean water, food, and shelter.

More than one million people are thought to be sheltering in Rafah - a city in southern Gaza which Israel is targeting as the last stronghold of proscribed terror group Hamas.

The United States - alongside its allies - has made repeated calls for Israel to avoid taking military action in Rafah because of the risk to civilian life.

On Wednesday the US president said Israel's actions around Rafah had "not yet" crossed his red lines, although he insisted that more needs to be done to protect civilians.

President Biden decided last week to pause a shipment of heavy bombs to Israel, owing to concerns around how the weapons could be used in a dense urban area.

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Gilad Erdan, called the decision "very disappointing" and "frustrating".

In April the Biden administration began reviewing future transfers of military assistance as an Israeli invasion of Rafah became increasingly likely.

The United States has historically provided Israel with significant amounts of military aid - something which has only accelerated in the aftermath of Hamas' October 7 attack into southern Israel, which killed 1,200 people and led to hundreds more being taken hostage.

More than 34,500 people - mostly women and children - have died in Gaza as a result of the subsequent military action Israel has taken, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…