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  • A Palestinian carries a wounded boy following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians are taking refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014.

    A Palestinian carries a wounded boy following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike at a United Nations-run school, where displaced Palestinians are taking refuge, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

At least 83 U.S. senators wrote a letter to U.S. President Obama urging him to increase military aid to Israel to up to US$4.5 billion.

More than 80 percent of the U.S. Senate have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to quickly reach an agreement on a new defense aid package for Israel worth more than the current US$3 billion per year.

Eight-three of the 100 senators signed the letter, led by Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Coons. Senator Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, was one of the 51 Republicans on board. The Senate's Democratic White House hopeful, Bernie Sanders, was not among the 32 Democrats.

"In light of Israel's dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge," said the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

The funding is intended to boost Israel's military and allow it to maintain a technological advantage over its Arab neighbors.

It did not provide a figure for the suggested aid. Israel wants $4 billion to $4.5 billion in aid in a new agreement to replace the current memorandum of understanding, or MOU, which expires in 2018.

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