UN suspends delivery of aid to Gaza via US pier

AFP , Monday 10 Jun 2024

The UN World Food Programme has suspended the delivery of aid to Gaza via a temporary US military pier to assess the security situation, a spokesperson said Monday.

 Trident Pier
Image provided by the US Army shows truck loaded with humanitarian aid crossing the Trident Pier before arriving on the beach on the Gaza Strip. AP

Stephane Dujarric linked the move to an Israeli captive rescue operation over the weekend that freed four people, but which Palestinian health officials in Gaza say killed 274 people and wounded almost 700, many of them women and children.

"World Food Programme colleagues tell us that we are temporarily pausing operations at the floating dock until a thorough assessment of the security situation is conducted to ensure the safety of our staff and our partners," said Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general.

"We've all seen what happened in Gaza over the weekend. We've seen some of the media reports. We've also taken note of very public statements by the US Central Command that the floating pier had not been used in the operation by the Israeli forces regarding the captives," he said.

"I think it's only normal after a such an operation takes place with such a large number of victims, that our humanitarian colleagues take a pause, look at the situation. And hopefully it can be returned to use as quickly as possible from our end," Dujarric added.

Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists on Monday that the Israeli operation took place near the temporary pier, but was completely separate from the aid delivery effort and its equipment and personnel.

"We'll continue to work closely with USAID, World Food Programme, the Israelis and all the stakeholders when it comes to ensuring ... security is taken into account," Ryder said.

He also said that high seas had again disrupted the delivery of aid via the pier, only shortly after shipments resumed Saturday following repairs to the structure from storm damage it suffered last month.

"The sea states ... yesterday and today have prevented additional aid from flowing across the causeway, but all indications are that that will commence again tomorrow," Ryder said.

Gaza has been devastated by Israeli operations that are now entering their ninth month, uprooting the coastal territory's population and leaving them in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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