US naval vessels disconnect from Gaza aid pier, wash up on Israeli beaches

CENTCOM reports no casualties, says humanitarian jetty still functioning after four ships break off their moorings

American soldiers and Israelis stand near a US vessel that washed up on the beach in Ashdod, May 25, 2024. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)
American soldiers and Israelis stand near a US vessel that washed up on the beach in Ashdod, May 25, 2024. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)

American vessels connected to a floating pier near the Gaza Strip disconnected Saturday from the jetty due to stormy seas, leading them to get stuck on the coast off Israel, US Central Command said in a statement.

In total, four vessels broke free from their moorings, CENTCOM said, adding that no injuries were reported and the aid pier remains fully functional.

One of the ships got stuck on a beach at the southern end of Ashdod, and another ship sent to extract the stuck vessel also got beached.

The other two vessels washed up on a beach near the pier, the statement said, adding that efforts to recover the vessels were underway with assistance from the Israeli Navy.

A US Army landing craft is seen beached in Ashdod on Sunday, May 26, 2024, after being swept by wind and current from the temporary humanitarian pier in the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The statement stressed no US personnel would enter Gaza to help retrieve the vessels, reiterating the American position of no boots on the ground.

On Thursday, the UN said aid from the pier was successfully distributed in Gaza for the first time

American officials hope the pier at maximum capacity can bring the equivalent of 150 truckloads of aid to Gaza each day. That’s a part of the 600 truckloads of food, emergency nutritional treatments, and other supplies that USAID says are needed each day to address the humanitarian crisis brought on by the seven-month-old Israel-Hamas war, which was started by the terror group’s devastating October 7 assault on Israel in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 252.

The ensuing Israeli offensive on Hamas in Gaza has caused a humanitarian crisis in the enclave with much of the population at risk of starvation, according to human rights organizations and the United Nations.

Israelis stand near a US Army vessel that washed up on a beach in Ashdod, May 25, 2024. (Liron Moldovan/Flash90)

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 35,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, though only some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals. The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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