Citing US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Times said the decision to ship the weapons quickly came after relatively little debate within the administration.
The arms shipment has not been announced publicly. The officials who described the administration's decision to rush the munitions included employees of two government agencies, one of whom described the shipment as just one example of a broad array of armaments that the United States has long provided Israel, the Times said.
The munitions are actually part of a multimillion-dollar arms-sale package approved last year which Israel is able to tap when it needs to, the officials told the paper.
But some US military officers said the request for expedited delivery was unusual and indicated that Israel has many targets it plans to hit in Lebanon.
Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, the newspaper said, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means.
An Israeli army spokesman said Saturday that Israel will pursue its war on Hizbullah with more military incursions into south Lebanon, but will not unleash a full-scale invasion "for the moment."
"It will probably widen, but we are still looking at limited operations," he said. "We're not talking about massive forces going inside at this point."
Israel has been building up its forces at the border and has called up 3,000 reserves.
Thousands of Lebanese civilians have fled north fearing Israel will invade and expand an 11-day-old bombardment of Lebanon which has killed 345 people, mostly civilians.
Lebanese families packed into cars and pickup trucks and clogged roads to the north after Israeli planes dropped leaflets on Friday warning residents of south Lebanon to flee for safety beyond the Litani river, about 20 km (13 miles) from the border.
Foreigners have also flooded out of the country. Ships and aircraft worked through the night scooping more tired and scared people from Lebanon and bringing them to Cyprus and Turkey.
"An immediate cease-fire without political conditions does not make sense," said Rice. (Reuters)
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will go to the Middle East on Sunday, July 23, while resisting international pressure for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah.
Some US analysts doubt Rice's prospects for stopping 10 days of fighting because of her reluctance to talk to key players — Hizbullah and its backers, Iran and Syria.
Resisting calls from the United Nations, Europe and the Arab world, she said an immediate cease-fire would produce a "false promise" that would allow Hizbullah to re-emerge in the future to attack Israel, the top US ally in the region.
"An immediate cease-fire without political conditions does not make sense," she said.
"If you simply look for a cease-fire ... we will be back here in six months again," she added. "What I won't do is go to some place and try to get a cease-fire that I know isn't going to last."
As part of a political solution, Rice said there would be a need for a "robust" international force inside Lebanon but added that the United States was still discussing with its partners what its mandate would be.
US troops were not anticipated in any expanded international peace force for Lebanon, she said.
The Bush administration faced some pressure at home to do more to try to end the violence in the Middle East as US Senate Democratic leaders called on the president to immediately appoint a special envoy to the Middle East.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a letter to Bush that they were "surprised" that Rice plans only a brief stop in the region.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said Friday he had formally asked the Israeli and Lebanese governments a day earlier to guarantee safe passage routes by land, air and sea into and out of Lebanon.
More than 500,000 people, over a third of them children, had been touched in Lebanon by the conflict and more than 100,000 Lebanese were now in Syria, most of whom needed assistance, Egeland told the UN Security Council.
Source: IslamOnline.net & News AgenciesLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16