US says first aid trucks arrive via Gaza pier



Trucks containing supplies moved into Gaza on Friday morning

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid have started heading into Gaza via a newly constructed temporary pier built by the US. This operation began less than a day after the pier’s completion.

The aid-laden trucks commenced their journey into the enclave around 9 am local time on Friday, as reported by US Central Command (Centcom). According to Centcom, no US military personnel entered Gaza during this operation. They emphasized the purely humanitarian nature of this multinational effort, aimed at delivering additional aid to Palestinian civilians through a maritime corridor. Various countries and humanitarian organizations contributed to this effort, Centcom shared on X (Twitter) .

The aid delivery system became functional within 24 hours of the installation of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore system (JLOTS), which had been towed from the Israeli port of Ashdod and set up on Thursday morning.

Boats carrying supplies are expected to be escorted by US Navy vessels to transfer their cargo from the pier to the causeway anchored to the land, as detailed by Centcom. From there, trucks will transport the supplies along the causeway to shore.

The JLOTS system promises to deliver more supplies than air drops, especially since Israel’s military operations have closed several crucial supply crossings into Gaza. The primary entry point for aid into Gaza has been the Rafah crossing. However, this crossing has been embroiled in an Israeli ground assault, leading to its closure for nearly two weeks and drawing criticism from world leaders.

US President Joe Biden has expressed his frustration with Israel’s actions at Rafah, describing the offensive as “wrong” and threatening to halt the supply of certain weapons if the assault continues.

In an interview with CNBC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “we want to see it [the Rafah crossing] open,” while attributing the delay to Egypt.

The United Nations (UN) has expressed gratitude to the US for its efforts but cautioned that the floating dock is not a permanent solution for aid flow into Gaza. UN spokesperson Farhan Haq emphasized that opening all crossing points would be the most effective way to transport aid into the region.

US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel clarified that the pier was intended to supplement other routes, not replace them as the primary means of delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinians in need.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by reports from Martin Griffiths, the UN’s aid chief, who told Reuters that food supplies in the region are “running out” with “almost none left.”

The JLOTS system, which cost the US an estimated $320 million, was assembled and stationed in Ashdod earlier this month. Components of the pier were shipped from Virginia to the Mediterranean in March following President Biden’s announcement of the JLOTS plan in his State of the Union address.


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