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US says it has re-established temporary pier in Gaza

June 7, 2024 at 4:45 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]

US Central Command (CENTCOM) said, on Friday, that it has re-established the temporary pier off the coast of Gaza which broke apart in rough seas late last month, Anadolu Agency reports.

“At approximately 2:15 pm (local Gaza time) on June 7, US Central Command (CENTCOM) successfully re-established the temporary pier in Gaza, enabling part of the US military’s Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) capability in Gaza, ” CENTCOM said in a statement.

The pier’s re-establishment will allow for the continued delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, CENTCOM said.

In the coming days, CENTCOM will facilitate the movement of vital food and other emergency supplies, in support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), it added.

On 25 May, heavy sea states affected four US Army vessels supporting the maritime humanitarian aid mission in Gaza, and the vessels broke free from their moorings and two vessels were anchored on the beach near the pier. The third and fourth vessels were beached on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon.

READ: Hamas says US pier provides cover for supporting occupation state with weapons

US President, Joe Biden, ordered the establishment of a sea route to deliver food and other aid to Palestinians on 8 March, amid Israeli restrictions and months of conflict in the enclave.

The JLOTS – the floating pier and the Trident pier – became operational on 17 May when trucks carrying humanitarian assistance began moving ashore via the pier.

The initial cost of the pier was estimated at $320 million. However, the Pentagon said on Wednesday that the price had dropped to $230 million, due to contributions from the UK and because the cost of contracting trucks and other equipment was “lower-than-expected”.

Humanitarian airdrops to resume ‘in coming days’

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy Commander of CENTCOM, told reporters by phone on Friday that the US forces “successfully” attached the temporary pier to the Gaza beach.

“We expect to resume delivery of humanitarian assistance from the sea in the coming days,” he added.

The policy of “no US boots” on the ground does remain in effect, the admiral underlined.

Stressing that the pier is a 100 per cent humanitarian mission, Cooper said: “Any attack on those working on the pier is an attack on much needed aid for the people of Gaza.”

Cooper said operations will be ramped up soon with a goal to get 1 million pounds of aid moving through the pier into Gaza over every two day period.

When asked about the specific date of aid delivery, he said: “Let’s just see how the preparation goes. We are definitely moving with the sense of urgency and coordinating with all the partners to move as quickly as possible.”

Turning to the US humanitarian airdrops into Gaza, Cooper said they were suspended “due to the kinetic operations happening in the North.”

“We do expect those to resume here in the coming days,” he added.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since a Hamas attack last 7 October, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Some 36,600 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 83,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

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