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. US to sell 5,000 smart bombs to Israel: report
JERUSALEM (AFP) Sep 21, 2004
Israel is set to buy 5,000 smart bombs from the United States in one of the Jewish state's largest weapons deals in recent years, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

The 319 million-dollar purchase also includes airborne models, guidance units, training bombs and detonators for Israel's air force, said the paper citing a US Congress report.

The bombs are all guided by a satellite system, which sends a signal to the devices to adjust their course to the target.

Smart bombs are intended to inflict maximum damage to the target and minimize the effect of the impact outside of the target, so-called "collateral damage".

According to Haaretz, quoting US defense sources, "the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage, and advance US strategic and tactical interests.

Finance will come from US military aid to Israel, which combined with economic assistance totals more than three billion dollars a year.

The paper said the deal, which includes 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls, 2,500 regular one-ton bombs, 1,000 half-ton bombs and 500 quarter-ton bombs, was easily reached despite the Israelis previous use of high explosives against Palestinian targets.

In July 2002, Israel dropped a one-ton bomb on a residential neighborhood in Gaza City to assassinate a local military leader of the radical Hamas group.

That strike provoked international anger as it also killed 14 other Palestinians, among them women and children.

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