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US troops begin building pier Gaza aid just days after mortar attack

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United States troops started the construction of a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians residing in the enclave. The project started days after Gaza militants fired mortar shells toward the construction site. President Joe Biden announced the decision to establish the maritime pier during his State of the Union address in March.

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The pier announcement came as United Nations officials had warned of an impending famine in Gaza. Officials described the situation as “almost inevitable” with life “draining out of Gaza at a terrifying speed.”

The Pentagon confirmed that over 1,000 U.S. troops would aid in constructing the pier at sea. Officials emphasized that they would not deploy U.S. boots on the ground during the operation.

The objective is to load ships with aid in Cyprus and transport them through waters to the Gaza pier. The pier will be linked to a temporary causeway. Then, crews will transfer supplies onto trucks for distribution within Gaza.

Israel agreed to provide security and logistical support for U.S. troops during the construction process. This support was deemed necessary as mortar shells were fired toward the marshaling yard area earlier this week, which will eventually serve as the delivery site supported by the pier. The attack occurred while United Nations officials were touring the site with Israel Defense Forces troops.

“It’s important also to highlight that this occurred before any U.S. forces, you know, have started moving anything,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary. “There’ll be no U.S. forces on the ground. And as I understand it, there’s no U.S. equipment per se in this marshaling yard.”

Officials did not report any injuries in the attack on the construction site. They said the timeline for the pier project currently remains on track.

Hamas militants told The Associated Press that they “would reject the presence of any non-Palestinians in Gaza.”

Many aid workers assisting with humanitarian efforts also expressed concerns about working in Gaza following the deaths of seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen in an Israeli strike.

Pentagon officials said that the pier will facilitate the delivery of 2 million meals per day for the residents of Gaza. Israel also pledged to prevent any aid from falling into the hands of Hamas terrorists.

Officials said the pier should be operational by May.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

U.S. TROOPS HAVE BEGUN CONSTRUCTING A TEMPORARY PIER OFF THE COAST OF GAZA – TO DELIVER HUMANITARIAN AID TO PALESTINIANS LIVING IN THE ENCLAVE.

THIS – JUST DAYS AFTER GAZAN MILITANTS FIRED MORTAR SHELLS TOWARD THE CONSTRUCTION SITE.

PRESIDENT BIDEN ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR THE MARITIME PIER DURING HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS IN MARCH – AS UNITED NATIONS OFFICIALS HAD WARNED THAT FAMINE IN GAZA WAS “ALMOST INEVITABLE” AND THAT “LIFE IS DRAINING OUT OF GAZA AT TERRIFYING SPEED.”

THE PENTAGON MADE CLEAR – MORE THAN 1,000 US TROOPS WOULD HELP CONSTRUCT THE PIER  AT SEA – HOWEVER – THEY WOULD ACCOMPLISH THIS FEAT WITHOUT PUTTING US BOOTS ON THE GROUND.  

THE GOAL IS TO FILL SHIPS WITH AID IN CYPRUS – THE SHIPS WILL TRAVERSE WATERS TO THE PIER IN GAZA – WHICH WILL BE ATTACHED TO A TEMPORARY CAUSEWAY.

THE HUMANITARIAN AID WILL THEN BE LOADED ONTO TRUCKS AND MAKE THEIR WAY INTO GAZA. 

ISRAEL AGREED TO PROVIDE SECURITY AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR US TROOPS DURING CONSTRUCTION – WHICH PROVED TO BE NEEDED THIS WEEK AS PENTAGON OFFICIALS CONFIRMED – MORTAR SHELLS WERE FIRED TOWARD THE MARSHALLING YARD AREA WEDNESDAY – WHICH WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME THE DELIVERY SITE THE PIER WILL SUPPORT.

THE ATTACK HAPPENED WHILE UN OFFICIALS WERE TOURING THE SITE WITH IDF TROOPS.

[AIR FORCE MAJ. GEN. PAT RYDER]

“It’s important also to highlight that this occurred before any U.S. forces, you know, have started moving anything. There’ll be no U.S. forces on the ground. And as I understand it, there’s no U.S. equipment per se in this marshaling yard.”

 [LAUREN TAYLOR]

NO INJURIES WERE REPORTED IN THE ATTACK AND THE PIER PROJECT TIMELINE CURRENTLY REMAINS ON TRACK.

HAMAS MILITANTS TOLD THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – “IT WOULD REJECT THE PRESENCE OF ANY NON-PALESTINIANS IN GAZA.”

MANY AID WORKERS HELPING WITH HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS HAVE ALSO VOICED CONCERNS ABOUT WORKING IN GAZA AFTER 7 AID WORKERS WITH WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN WERE KILLED IN AN ISRAELI STRIKE.

OFFICIALS WITH THE PENTAGON SAID THE PIER WILL HELP TO DELIVER TWO MILLION MEALS PER DAY FOR THE RESIDENTS OF GAZA.

ISRAEL SAYS IT WILL PREVENT ANY AID FROM GETTING INTO THE HANDS OF HAMAS TERRORISTS.

IT SHOULD BECOME OPERATIONAL BY MAY.