First aid shipment driven across new Gaza pier

The United States military said the first aid shipment was driven across the new U.S.-built Gaza pier Friday, ramping up the delivery of humanitarian assistance for Palestinians who are facing deprivation and hunger in Gaza.

U.S. Central Command said trucks hauling humanitarian aid began moving onto the land utilizing the temporary pier around 9 a.m. local time, adding that no U.S. troops entered the enclave.

“This is an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor that is entirely humanitarian in nature, and will involve aid commodities donated by a number of countries and humanitarian organizations,” officials said in a statement.

The pier, which was put together first in Ashdod before being placed onto Gaza’s shore, was originally announced in March by the Pentagon.

Palestinians in Gaza heavily rely on humanitarian aid. Israel’s bombardment of the enclave, now in its seventh month, has reduced the amount of assistance flowing to Gazans. The aid coming through the southern crossing near Rafah has been minimized, with the Israeli military performing its military operation around the area of the city over the past week.

President Biden’s administration has pressured Israel to allow more aid to flow into the southern part of the enclave. Since the start of Israel’s operation near Rafah, more than 600,000 Palestinians have fled the southern city that housed more than 1 million Gazans, according to the U.N. agency that provides relief to Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA.

“Many have sought refuge in Deir al-Balah, which is now unbearably overcrowded with dire conditions,” the agency said Friday.

Israel’s war with Hamas began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people and taking about 250 others hostage.

More than 35,000 people in Gaza have been killed during the ensuing months, most of them women and children, according to officials with the Hamas-run local health ministry.

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