Floating Pier Opens New Route For Gaza Food Aid.

Photo: Public domain. Supplies are loaded onto trucks for further distribution.
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The US military has confirmed that the first shipment of aid via a temporary floating pier off Gaza has gone ashore, with supplies transferred from larger ships to smaller vessels, and then to trucks waiting on the pier.

US Central Command confirmed in a post on X that the aid trucks began moving ashore at about 9:00 am local time.

“This is an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor that is entirely humanitarian in nature,” the post read, adding that no US troops went ashore.

However, the UN has warned that the maritime corridor is not a replacement for land routes, which are seen as a much quicker and more effective way of delivering aid.

In the coming days around 500 tonnes of aid is expected to enter Gaza, according to US Central Command.

British personnel have been working with US counterparts aboard RFA Cardigan Bay to build and operate the pier, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

“The newly operational pier off the coast of Gaza will enable truckloads of humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in dire need,” said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.

The US began building the floating base weeks ago to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza as Israel continues its military campaign against Hamas.

Hundreds of tonnes of aid arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday where it was screened before being loaded on to commercial ships for delivery to the pier.

Smaller US military vessels – capable of carrying between five and 15 lorries of aid – will then transport it to a floating pier, several hundred metres long, fixed to the beach in Gaza.

The lorries will travel along the pier before dropping off the aid at a marshalling yard on the beach.

Authorities said that the UN, primarily the World Food Programme, will be responsible for the onward distribution of aid.

The announcement marks the opening of a new route for humanitarian aid to reach the stricken Gaza Strip.

About 2.2 million Palestinians are in need of food, shelter and other assistance.

Aid deliveries to the territory have slowed down since Israeli forces took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing last week.

Earlier this month, the key crossing of Kerem Shalom was shut overnight by Israel which said four of its soldiers had been killed in a Hamas rocket attack near the crossing.

Delivering aid to Gaza by any route can be dangerous, with aid convoys at times looted by gangs and mobbed by desperate civilians, hijacked by Hamas, or occasionally hit by Israeli air strikes.

In April, seven aid workers from the organisation World Central Kitchen were killed by an Israeli drone strike.

Sources: BBC.VOA, news agencies.
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