US resumes aid deliveries to Gaza from temporary pier

People line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Dec 20, 2023. [AP Photo]

The United States has resumed aid deliveries to Gaza from a temporary pier, the country's military said Saturday, after the structure suffered storm damage and underwent repairs in a nearby port.

"Today at approximately 10:30 am (Gaza time) US Central Command (USCENTCOM) began delivery of humanitarian assistance ashore in Gaza. Today, a total of approximately 492 metric tons (~1.1 million pounds) of much-needed humanitarian assistance was delivered to the people of Gaza," CENTCOM said on social media platform X.

"No US military personnel went ashore in Gaza," the military command responsible for the Middle East added.

Gaza has been devastated by Israeli operations against Palestinian militant group Hamas now entering their ninth month, uprooting the coastal territory's population and leaving them in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

More than two million pounds of humanitarian aid were delivered via the pier last month, but it was damaged by high seas around a week after deliveries began.

The pier was repaired in the Israeli port of Ashdod before being brought back to the Gaza coast and reestablished on Friday.

Israel has been accused of delaying the entry of aid into Gaza, depriving the territory's 2.4 million people of clean water, food, medicines and fuel.

Plans for the pier were first announced by US President Joe Biden in early March and US Army troops and vessels soon set out on a lengthy trip to the Mediterranean to build the pier.

UN agencies and humanitarian aid groups have warned sea or air deliveries cannot replace far more efficient truck convoys into Gaza, where the United Nations has repeatedly warned of looming famine.

CENTCOM also said Saturday that the pier -- "including its equipment, personnel, and assets" -- had no role in Israel's operation earlier in the day to rescue four hostages held in Gaza.

"An area south of the facility was used by the Israelis to safely return the hostages to Israel," CENTCOM said.

"Any such claim to the contrary is false. The temporary pier on the coast of Gaza was put in place for one purpose only, to help move additional, urgently needed lifesaving assistance into Gaza."

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