02:03 GMT06 August 2020
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    The US State Department approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia, despite allegations that the kingdom has killed and injured civilians in airstrikes against rebels in Yemen.

    The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which facilitates foreign arms sales, notified lawmakers on Friday that the sale had been approved.

    The approval clears the way for the sale to go through – that is, unless lawmakers block it in the next 30 days, which is a rare move.

    The sale includes 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, including 1,000 GBU-10 Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs, and more than 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to turn older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals, Reuters reported.

    The bombs are in part intended to replenish Saudi inventories that have been depleted by its air operations against Islamic State in Syria and rebels in Yemen, Bloomberg reported.

    Since March, the Saudis have led a bombing campaign in Yemen targeting Houthi rebels who ousted the government.

    Human Rights Watch has said Saudi "airstrikes have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians" in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a and elsewhere. Still, the Obama administration has provided intelligence and targeting information for the airstrikes, Bloomberg reported.

    At least 2,355 civilians have been killed and almost 5,000 wounded since the coalition airstrikes began in March, according to the United Nations.

    The deal also reflects Obama's pledge to bolster US military support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies in the Gulf after Washington struck a landmark a deal with their Shiite rival Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing economic sanctions. 

    Daesh, civilian deaths, Houthi rebels, airstrike, air campaign, Saudi-led coalition, arms sale, United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Barack Obama, Syria, Yemen, United States, Saudi Arabia
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