UK ship sets sail to help building of Gaza aid jetty

AFP , Saturday 27 Apr 2024

A British ship to house hundreds of US troops building a jetty to boost aid deliveries to Gaza has set sail from Cyprus, a UK defence source said Saturday.

UK jetty
An undated handout picture received from the British Ministry of Defence on April 26, 2024, shows Royal Navy support ship Cardigan Bay at work in the Red Sea. AFP


Royal Navy support ship Cardigan Bay will assist the international effort to construct the temporary floating pier, which is set to be completed early next month, the Pentagon said.

The pier will initially facilitate the delivery of 90 truckloads of international aid a day into Gaza, rising to up to 150 truckloads once fully operational, according to US estimates.

The aid will be pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza via the pier off the coast or via Ashdod Port, which Israel has said it will open to aid vessels.

"It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza and the UK continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support," Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Cyprus said that a ship loaded with food for Gaza -- which had previously returned from Gaza after an Israeli strike killed seven aid workers -- is heading back towards the Palestinian territory.

Earlier this month, the Jennifer returned to the Mediterranean island with around 240 tonnes of supplies that had not been unloaded after Israeli strikes hit a convoy of the US charity World Central Kitchen.

Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff were killed in the attack, which was widely condemned. The American charity said it would suspend aid operations after the attack.

The Israeli army said the strike was a "grave mistake", claiming it had mistakenly believed it was targeting Hamas.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides said that "after the unfortunate incident, the effort to send humanitarian aid to Gaza has resumed".

"The needs are constantly increasing" in Gaza, he told reporters.

Cypriot state broadcaster CyBC said the Jennifer left the island on Friday night, loaded with aid from the United Arab Emirates.

By Saturday afternoon, maritime traffic monitoring sites showed the ship was more than halfway to Gaza.

UN agencies have warned that maritime deliveries alone cannot deliver sufficient aid to ward off the threat of famine in Gaza and have called on Israel to lift its siege and open all land crossings into the territory.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 34,388 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Israel's siege has pushed more than half of the population to the brink of famine, with people in north Gaza already living under "famine-like conditions."

*This story has been edited by Ahram Online

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