Gaza aid pier ready for launch, Pentagon confirms

In a recent announcement by the Pentagon on Tuesday, it was revealed that a pier constructed by the US military for aiding Gaza will soon be operational, following a setback due to adverse weather conditions over the past week.

The installation of the pier, with an estimated cost of at least $320 million, aims to enhance humanitarian access to Gaza, which has been severely impacted by seven months of Israel’s war.

Despite the completion of construction last week, poor sea conditions rendered it unsafe to anchor the pier along the Gaza coast.

Consequently, it was temporarily stationed at the port of Ashdod in Israel until the situation improved, delaying its intended deployment.

Responding to inquiries regarding the timeline for installation, Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder informed reporters that the pier is expected to become operational “in the coming days,” refraining from specifying an exact date.

Ryder also highlighted the presence of US Navy destroyers in the region, poised to provide security support for the aid operation.

It has been emphasized by the Pentagon that the pier’s anchoring to the Gaza shore will be carried out by Israeli soldiers, with US troops remaining off the ground.

The initiative for the pier was initially disclosed by President Joe Biden in early March amid concerns over the obstruction of aid deliveries to Gaza via ground routes by Israel, exacerbating the dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Under the outlined plans, supplies will be transported from Cyprus aboard commercial vessels to a floating platform, also constructed by the US military, situated off the Gaza coast.

Subsequently, aid will be transferred to smaller vessels and conveyed to the pier on the Gaza coast, from where it will be transported inland via trucks for distribution.

Major General Pat Ryder affirmed that the United States, along with humanitarian organizations, are strategically positioning aid in Cyprus for loading onto vessels destined for the floating pier.

Furthermore, efforts are underway to facilitate the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Israel and Egypt, which has been sealed since the previous week.

The ongoing conflict, which commenced on October 7 with an attack by Hamas in southern Israel, has inflicted significant devastation upon Gaza.

According to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures, approximately 1,170 individuals, predominantly civilians, have lost their lives. In response, Israel has pledged to dismantle Hamas and has undertaken a retaliatory offensive, resulting in the deaths of at least 35,173 individuals, primarily civilians, as reported by the Gaza health ministry.

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