US military says it has reestablished Gaza pier, aid expected to resume within days

Airdrops expected to resume as well in coming days, senior US military official says

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The US military said Friday that it reestablished the temporary pier built to deliver badly needed humanitarian aid into Gaza amid a monthslong Israeli bombardment of the enclave.

Aid is expected to start flowing into Gaza via the US-built pier, which was damaged less than ten days after it was initially attached to the coastline, US officials said Friday.

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US Central Command (CENTCOM) Deputy Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said US troops attached the temporary pier earlier in the day with the help of Israeli forces. “The policy of no US boots on the ground remains in effect,” he told reporters during a phone call.

Ultimately, he said the goal is to get 500,000 pounds of aid to Gaza per day, adding that the US and the international community helping were moving with a “sense of urgency.”

On the same call, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships Chris Mewett said non-food items were also being sent over the pier, but both officials stressed the pier was strictly for humanitarian purposes. “Food is not the only commodity being delivered via JLOTS,” he said when asked about the medical and housing needs of civilians in Gaza.

The US stopped delivering aid using the pier after bad weather and high tides caused significant damage at the end of May. The pier was removed off the coast of Gaza and repaired at the Israeli port of Ashdod. Four Army vessels supporting the Gaza pier mission were also affected by heavy sea states. Two were left stranded near the pier, and the other two were beached on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon.

Frustrated by the lack of Israeli cooperation to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, US President Joe Biden ordered the construction of a temporary pier in March in what US officials said was a bid to “surge” assistance to Palestinians.

However, the aid delivered so far has fallen significantly short of the requirements outlined by officials and the United Nations. This has raised concerns among US lawmakers and critics, who question the project’s effectiveness and estimated cost of over $300 million in American taxpayer funds.

Airdrops have also been nonexistent since the pier fell apart. Asked by Al Arabiya English why that was the case, VADM Cooper said they had been suspended because of the “kinetic operations” in northern Gaza. “But we expect them to resume in the coming days,” he said.

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