US Military Says Gaza Pier Is Complete

Floating pier is part of complicated aid delivery project
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2024 4:22 AM CDT
US Military Says Gaza Pier Is Complete
In this image provided by the US Army, soldiers and sailors assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza on April 26, 2024.   (US Army via AP)

The US military finished installing a floating pier for the Gaza Strip on Thursday, with officials poised to begin ferrying badly needed humanitarian aid into the enclave besieged over seven months of intense fighting in the Israel-Hamas war. The military's Central Command stressed that none of its forces entered the Gaza Strip and would not during the pier's operations. From the AP:

  • The final, overnight construction sets up a complicated delivery process more than two months after President Biden ordered it to help Palestinians facing starvation. Food and other supplies have been failing to make it into Gaza and Israel recently seized the key Rafah border crossing in its push on the city on the Egyptian border.

  • Fraught with logistical, weather, and security challenges, the maritime route is designed to bolster the amount of aid getting into the Gaza Strip, but it is not considered a substitute for far cheaper land-based deliveries, which aid agencies say are much more sustainable.
  • Boatloads of aid will be brought from Cyprus to the floating pier. Pallets will then be transferred onto trucks, driven onto smaller Army boats, and shuttled several miles to a floating causeway, which has been anchored onto a beach by the Israeli military. The trucks, which are being driven by personnel from another country, will go down the causeway into a secure area on land where they will drop off the aid and immediately turn around and return to the boats. Aid groups will collect the supplies for distribution on shore.
  • Pentagon officials said the fighting in Gaza wasn't threatening the new shoreline aid distribution area, but they have made it clear that security conditions will be monitored closely and could prompt a shutdown of the maritime route, even just temporarily. Already, the site has been targeted by mortar fire during its construction and Hamas has threatened to target any foreign forces who "occupy" the Gaza Strip.
  • Military leaders have said the deliveries of aid will begin slowly to ensure the system works. They will start with about 90 truckloads of aid a day through the sea route, and that number will quickly grow to about 150 a day. But aid agencies say that isn't enough to avert impending famine in Gaza and must be just one part of a broader Israeli effort to open land corridors.
  • Israeli forces will be in charge of security on the shore, but there are also two US Navy warships near the area in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the USS Arleigh Burke and the USS Paul Ignatius. Both ships are destroyers equipped with a wide range of weapons and capabilities to protect American troops off shore and allies on the beach.
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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