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US installs Gaza floating pier despite aid groups' security fears

A senior USAID official said the United States is “not at all satisfied” with the progress of discussions with the IDF over steps to prevent Israeli soldiers from killing aid workers in Gaza.
Pier-building begins construction of the floating JLOTS pier in the Mediterranean. The pier will support USAID and humanitarian partners to receive and deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. US Transportation Command and US European Command support the movement of humanitarian aid.

WASHINGTON – Israeli military engineers anchored a temporary floating pier on Gaza's coast early this morning as the Biden administration seeks to compensate for the lack of humanitarian aid getting into the famine-stricken Palestinian enclave amid Israel's war against Hamas.

The pier, which was constructed off the coast in recent weeks by US military vessels, was anchored at 7:40 a.m. local time on Thursday, US Central Command announced. Its completion follows more than a week of delay at the Israeli port of Ashdod, which Pentagon officials attributed to high sea swells.

US officials expect international aid shipped from Cyprus to begin offloading onto the pier in the coming days. More than 500 tons of aid have already been preloaded on ships off Gaza's coast, US CENTCOM’s deputy commander, US Navy Adm. Brad Cooper, said Thursday. The UK government on Wednesday announced it had dispatched nearly 100 tons of aid from Cyprus.

Why it matters: Once fully up and running, the pier is expected to significantly increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave, more than half of whose population is estimated to be soon facing starvation.

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