The war between Israel and Hamas: The US army finishes building a floating dock for the Gaza Strip

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military finished installing a floating dock for the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as officials prepared to begin transporting badly needed humanitarian aid to the enclave besieged by seven months of intense fighting in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The final construction, which took place overnight, marks a complex delivery more than two months after US President Joe Biden ordered it to help Palestinians facing famine while… Food and other supplies fail to achieve this While Israel recently seized the main Rafah border crossing in its attack on that southern city located on the Egyptian border.

fraught Logistical, weather and security challengesThe sea route is designed to boost the amount of aid entering the Gaza Strip, but is no substitute for much cheaper land deliveries which aid agencies say are more sustainable. Boat loads of aid will be deposited at a port built by the Israelis just southwest of Gaza City It is distributed by relief groups.

Violent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants on the outskirts of Gaza City Rafah United Nations officials say that the Strip has displaced about 600,000 people, or a quarter of Gaza’s population. Another 100,000 civilians fled parts of northern Gaza after the Israeli army resumed combat operations there.

Pentagon officials said the fighting in Gaza did not threaten the new coastal aid distribution area, but they made clear that security conditions would be closely monitored and could lead to the sea route being closed, even if temporarily. Indeed, the site was targeted by mortar shells during its construction, and Hamas threatened to target any foreign forces that “occupy” the Gaza Strip.

“Protecting participating U.S. forces is a top priority. As such, in the past few weeks, the United States and Israel have developed an integrated security plan to protect all personnel,” said Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of the U.S. military’s Central Command. “We We are confident in the ability of this security arrangement to protect those involved.”

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The Army’s Central Command said that American forces installed the pier at 7:40 a.m. local time on Thursday, stressing that none of its forces entered the Gaza Strip nor did they enter during the pier’s operations.

The command said: “It is expected that trucks carrying humanitarian aid will begin moving to the beach in the coming days.” He added that the United Nations will receive aid and coordinate its distribution in Gaza.

Officials said the World Food Program would be the UN program handling the aid.

Israeli forces will be responsible for security on shore, but there are also two US Navy warships near the area in the eastern Mediterranean, the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Paul Ignatius. Both ships are destroyers equipped with a wide range of weapons and capabilities to protect American forces offshore and allies ashore.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Nadav Shoshani confirmed that the pier had been connected and that Israeli engineering units had leveled the land around the area and paved roads for trucks.

Shoshani said: “We have been working for months to fully cooperate with (the US Army) on this project and to facilitate and support it in any way possible.” “It is a top priority in our operation.”

Aid agencies say food is running out in southern Gaza and fuel is running low, which will force hospitals to halt vital operations and close hospitals. Stop delivering aid by truck. The United Nations and others have warned for weeks that any Israeli attack on Rafah would cripple humanitarian operations and cause a catastrophic rise in civilian casualties.

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more than 1.4 million Palestinians – half the population of Gaza – Most of them took refuge in Rafah after fleeing Israeli attacks elsewhere.

The first cargo ship carrying 475 pallets of food left Cyprus last week to meet the US military ship, Roy B. Benavidez, off the coast of Gaza. Aid pallets on board the MV Sagamore were transferred to Benavidez. The Pentagon said moving aid between ships was an effort to be ready so it could flow quickly once the pier and bridge were established.

Installation of the pier several miles (kilometres) off the coast and the bridge, which is now connected to the beach, have been delayed for about two weeks due to inclement weather. US officials said sea conditions made it too dangerous for US and Israeli forces to secure the bridge leading to the beach.

Military commanders said aid delivery would start slowly to ensure the system works. They will start with about 90 truckloads of aid per day via the sea route, and this number will quickly rise to about 150 per day. But aid agencies say this is not enough to avert looming famine in Gaza and should be just one part of a broader Israeli effort to open land corridors.

Scott Ball, associate director of the humanitarian organization Oxfam, said that because land crossings could bring in all the necessary aid if Israeli officials allowed, the US-built dock and sea route “is a solution to a problem that does not exist.” organized.

Biden used his State of the Union delivered On March 7, the army was ordered to establish a temporary dock off the coast of Gaza and establish a sea route to deliver food and other aid. Food shipments were supported at land crossings amid Israeli restrictions and intensifying fighting.

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Under the new sea route, humanitarian aid will be disembarked in Cyprus where it will undergo inspection and security screening at the port of Larnaca. They are then loaded onto ships — mainly commercial ships — and transported about 200 miles (320 kilometers) to a large floating dock built by the US military off the coast of Gaza.

There, the pallets are transferred to trucks, transferred to smaller army boats and then transported several miles (kilometres) to the floating bridge, which has been installed on the shore by the Israeli army. Trucks being made Led by employees from another countryThey will descend the bridge to a safe area on land where aid will be delivered and then immediately turn around and return to the boats.

Aid groups will collect supplies to distribute on the beach, with the United Nations working with USAID to set up a logistics center on the beach.

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters: The project will cost at least $320 millionIncluding the transfer of equipment and dock parts from the United States to the Gaza coast, in addition to construction operations and aid deliveries.

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Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Julia Frankel in Tel Aviv, Israel, contributed to this report.

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