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U.S. 'on track' to construct floating pier off Gaza: Pentagon

Anadolu Agency AMERICAS
Published April 04,2024
(AA File Photo)

The U.S. is "on track" to construct a floating pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

"The JLOTS (Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability) continues to be en route. We expect to achieve full operations capability by the end of the month, early May as we talked about approximately 60 days, although, of course, we are working to move as quickly as we can on that front," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

The Pentagon announced in March that it would undertake an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier on the Gazan coast to deliver up to 2 million humanitarian aid meals per day.

The mission has a goal of beginning delivery operations in approximately 60 days. It includes a floating pier -- an 1,800-foot-long causeway that will be attached to the shore, and a group of logistic support vessels and barges that will transport the aid from the pier to the causeway, according to the Pentagon.

"We're on track in terms of the timeline, and we continue to work closely with partners in the region," said Ryder, adding that Israel has "committed to providing security on the shore for that effort when it comes to the receiving and then onward distribution of that aid."

Asked how the Pentagon plans to distribute aid and not have chaos or a security situation, Ryder said the situation in Gaza and the recent Israeli strike killing humanitarian workers "certainly doesn't make that job easier."

"But that has not deterred us from continuing to work with groups and NGOs to come up with solutions," he said.

The U.S. is going to put the safety and security of its forces as a "top priority" in any of the operations, Ryder stressed.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack in early October, led by the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, killed less than 1,200 people.

More than 33,000 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,577 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which last week asked it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.