Aid delivered to Gaza from repaired pier

Aid has been delivered to Gaza from a repaired American-built pier, a US official said on Saturday, following problems that had plagued the effort to bring supplies to Palestinians by sea.

The pier, constructed by the American military, was only operational for about a week before it was blown apart in high winds and heavy seas on May 25. The damaged section was reconnected to the beach in Gaza on Friday after undergoing repairs at an Israeli port.

Crews delivered about 492 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza via the pier on Saturday, the US official said ahead of an official announcement of the delivery.

It came the same day Israel mounted a heavy air and ground assault that rescued four hostages, who had been taken by Hamas during the October 7 assault that launched the war in Gaza. At least 210 Palestinians, including children, were killed, a Gaza health official said.

United States Gaza Aid
This image provided by the US Army shows trucks unloading from the original pier (Staff Sgt Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/US Army/AP)

Fighting and Israeli restrictions on land crossings have greatly limited the flow of food and other vital supplies into the territory.

Early efforts to get aid from the pier into the Gaza Strip were disrupted as crowds overran a convoy of trucks that aid agencies were using to transport the food, stripping the cargo from many of them before they could reach a UN warehouse. Officials responded by altering the travel routes, and aid began reaching those in need.

Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command, told reporters on Friday the lessons learned from that initial week of operations made him confident greater amounts of aid could be delivered.

Relief agencies have pressed Israel to reopen land routes that could bring in all the needed aid.

UN agencies have warned that more than one million Palestinians in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by the middle of next month if hostilities continue.

President Joe Biden announced his plan for the US military to build a pier during his State of the Union address in early March, and the military said it would take about 60 days to get it installed and operational. It took a bit longer than planned, with the first trucks carrying aid for the Gaza Strip rolling down the pier on May 17.

The initial cost was estimated at 320 million dollars (£251 million), but the Pentagon said this past week that the price had dropped to 230 million dollars (£180 million), due to contributions from Britain and because the cost of contracting trucks and other equipment was less than expected.

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