US President Barack Obama has signed a bill authorizing an additional $225 million in funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile system, a key line of defense against rocket attacks Hamas has been launching from Gaza.
The bill was cleared on Friday by the House and Senate, after Israel had requested the money in order to speed up production of Iron Dome components and to maintain stockpiles.
The announcement came only hours before Israel and Gaza agreed to a fresh 72-hour ceasefire brokered by Egypt.
"This funding will ensure that Israel will be able to sustain production of Iron Dome components in order to maintain adequate stockpiles of Iron Dome interceptors and equipment," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, after Obama signed the legislation into law.
"The United States is proud that the Iron Dome system developed in coordination with Israel and funded by the U.S. has saved countless Israeli lives. Continued bipartisan support for Iron Dome funding ensures Israel will retain vital defence against rockets and artillery in light of the enduring threats," he added.
The Iron Dome system has proved to be a vital defense against attacks from Gaza in the ongoing conflict, as it has been able to bring down most, if not all, of the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas, Wall Street Journal reported. Militants fired 119 rockets from Gaza on Sunday alone, the Israeli military has said according to the Journal.
The US has defended Israel's right to defend itself but has stepped up criticism against what seemed to be excessive attacks on Gaza that have killed over 1,800 Palestinians, most of them civilians during the month long war.
The Obama administration condemned Israeli military operation especially after an Israeli missile ripped through a UN school that was sheltering displaced Palestinians.
Earnest said that the US has been clear since the start of the conflict in the Gaza Strip that no country could launch rocket attacks against its civilians.
"The US supports Israel's right to defend itself against such attacks. We also continue to call on Israeli authorities to take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza and protect the civilian Palestinian population from the effects of attacks, and we continue to stress that all parties to the conflict must comply with international humanitarian law," he said.