US troops begin construction of Gaza aid pier as famine looms

AFP , Friday 26 Apr 2024

The US military has begun construction on a pier meant to boost deliveries of desperately needed aid to Gaza, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Gaza port
File photo: This satellite picture taken by Planet Labs PBC show the construction of a new aid port near Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on Apr. 18, 2024. AP


The small coastal territory has been devastated by more than six months of Israeli bombardment and a ground invasion that has displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

Israel, which has shut down all land crossings into the Gaza Strip, has created a "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis that has pushed half of the population to the brink of famine.

"I can confirm that US military vessels... have begun to construct the initial stages of the temporary pier and causeway at sea," Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists.

Indications are that the pier will be operational in early May, and "everything is on course at this point," he said.

Highlighting the dangers in Gaza, Ryder said that the Pentagon was tracking "some type of mortar attack" causing minimal damage near the area onshore where the aid will eventually land.

"It's important also to highlight that this occurred before any US forces... started moving anything," he said.

Plans to build an offshore platform for the transfer of aid from larger to smaller vessels and a pier to bring it ashore were first announced by the United States in early March as Israel impose a ground siege on the territory blocking much-needed aid for starving Palestinians some in north Gaza already living under "famine-like conditions."

US officials have said the effort will not involve "boots on the ground" in Gaza, but American troops will come close to the Palestinian territory as they construct the pier, for which Israeli forces are to provide onshore security.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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