Pentagon says floating Gaza aid pier more than 50% complete

Announcement comes 6 days after massive construction effort began, aimed at easing humanitarian crisis in Strip

A maritime pier being built by the US military off the coast of the Gaza Strip, in an image released on April 29, 2024. (CENTCOM)
A maritime pier being built by the US military off the coast of the Gaza Strip, in an image released on April 29, 2024. (CENTCOM)

The temporary pier being constructed by the US military to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza is more than halfway complete, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The start of construction was announced on April 25, and US officials have said the pier will be operational sometime early this month.

“As of today, we are over 50 percent complete on setting up the pier,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists.

“The floating pier has been completely constructed and set up. The causeway is in progress,” she added.

Plans for the pier — which the Pentagon said earlier this week would cost at least $320 million, nearly double the initial estimate — were first announced by US President Joe Biden in early March as aid officials implored Israel to ease access for relief supplies into Gaza’s overland routes.

The Pentagon has said the massive construction effort involves about 1,000 US service members, mostly from the Army and Navy.

The port sits just southwest of Gaza City, a little north of a road bisecting Gaza that the Israeli military built during the fighting. The area was the territory’s most populous region before the Israeli ground offensive pushed over 1 million people south toward the town of Rafah on the Egyptian border.

Israel’s military offensive against Hamas, in response to the Palestinian terror group’s egregious assault on Israel on October 7, has devastated the Gaza Strip and plunged its 2.3 million people into a humanitarian crisis. Whether the pier will ultimately succeed in boosting humanitarian aid is unclear, as international officials warn of a risk of famine in northern Gaza.

Israel recently stepped up efforts to deliver aid by land and opened up new ground routes, including opening the pedestrian Erez Crossing to aid trucks for the first time on Wednesday. Washington has said aid delivery has increased significantly in recent weeks, but that more is needed.

The pier will initially handle 90 trucks per day, but that number could go up to 150 trucks daily when it is fully operational. The United Nations said last week that the daily average number of trucks entering Gaza during April was 200.

A senior US official said last week that humanitarian aid coming off the pier will need to pass through Israeli checkpoints on land.

That is despite the aid having already been inspected by Israel in Cyprus before being shipped to Gaza. Israel wants to prevent any aid from getting to Hamas, boosting the terror group’s war effort.

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