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US military pier operations suspended after piece breaks off

May 28, 2024 at 8:08 pm

An aerial view of a construction area as construction of the temporary port, to be built to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, still continues in Gaza City, Gaza on April 29, 2024 [US Central Command (CENTCOM)/Anadolu via Getty Images]

A part of the US military’s pier off Gaza has broken off, rendering it temporarily inoperable, two US officials said, in the latest blow to efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians, Reuters reports. As a result, the pier is being temporarily removed.

The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said bad weather was believed to be the reason that the part had broken off. They did not say how big the part was or speculate on how long it would take for the pier to resume operations.

Pentagon spokesperson, Sabrina Singh, said a portion of the pier had separated and that the pier would be towed over the next 48 hours to Ashdod port in Israel for repairs.

Singh added the pier would take over a week to repair and then returned to its place off the coast of Gaza.

The floating pier set up by the US to facilitate quicker delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, amidst ongoing Israeli attacks, could only function for 11 days out of its 23-day lifespan [Omar Zaghloul – Anadolu Agency]

The pier was announced by US President Joe Biden in March and involved the military assembling the floating structure off the coast. Estimated to cost $320 million for the first 90 days and involve about 1,000 US service members, it went into operation two weeks ago.

Since the pier began operations, the United Nations has transported 137 trucks of aid from the pier – the equivalent of 900 metric tonnes – said a UN World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson.

Palestinians fear the US pier will be used to forcibly displaced civilians from Gaza or to commandeer the occupied territory’s offshore natural resources.

READ: Egypt angered by floating pier in Gaza: Israel media says