US resumes maritime aid deliveries to Gaza after pier repair

US resumes maritime aid deliveries to Gaza after pier repair
# 09 June 2024 10:46 (UTC +04:00)

Maritime aid deliveries to Gaza resumed Saturday after a US-built temporary pier was repaired a day prior, US Central Command announced, APA reports.

Nearly 500 metric tons, or over a million pounds, of aid was delivered beginning Saturday morning local time, CENTCOM said in a post on X, the first delivery since the pier broke apart last month.

The delivery came the same day the Israeli military rescued four hostages in an operation that authorities in Gaza said killed 236 people and injured more than 400 others.

CENTCOM made it clear Saturday that the pier, “including its equipment, personnel, and assets,” was not used in the operation.

“The temporary pier on the coast of Gaza was put in place for one purpose only, to help move additional, urgently needed lifesaving assistance into Gaza,” CENTCOM said in a separate post on X.

And a US official told CNN on Saturday that the pier, called Joint Logistics Over the Shore, or JLOTS, was not used in the operation. “It is our understanding that IDF did not use a vehicle with humanitarian markings, or any humanitarian platform, including the JLOTS facility, to conduct hostage rescue operations,” the official said.

The pier, used in addition to dropping aid out of planes and trucking it through border checkpoints, sustained damage and broke apart in heavy seas late last month. In the less than two weeks the pier was operational, it helped deliver some 1,000 metric tons of aid to Gaza.

The US had faced a number of challenges with the pier, including planning around Israel’s operations in Rafah, establishing who would transport the aid from the pier into Gaza, and logistical issues such as sea and weather conditions.

Eight months into the Israel-Hamas war, human rights groups have described “unspeakable” living conditions in Gaza. The United Nations’ food agency warned in May that Palestinians in the north are under a “full-blown famine” that is spreading south, and more than 1 million people, half of Gaza’s population, are “expected to face death and starvation” by mid-July, a UN report warned this week.

While Israeli officials have insisted there is no limit on the amount of aid that can enter Gaza, the UN has accused authorities of imposing “unlawful restrictions” on relief operations, including blocked land routes, communications blackouts and air strikes.

The US has made a number of air drops of humanitarian aid into Gaza in partnership with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, though they were suspended in recent weeks due to military operations in the north of Gaza, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said Friday. Air drops are expected to resume “in the coming days,” he said.

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