US military ship heads to Gaza to build temporary port for humanitarian aid

A U.S. military ship is heading to Gaza to build a temporary seaport that will provide humanitarian assistance to the war-ravaged territory.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that a U.S. Army vessel is “en route to the Eastern Mediterranean less than 36 hours after President Biden announced the U.S. would provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza by sea.” Biden announced during his State of the Union that he directed the U.S. military to lead the construction of a port along the coast of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea.

CENTCOM described the General Frank S. Besson as a “logistic support vessel,” noting that it carries the first equipment to establish “a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies.”

The Gaza aid port is expected to take two months to build and require at least 1,000 service members to complete the project, according to the Pentagon. Civilians in Gaza have been lacking humanitarian aid, including medical supplies, food, water and other basic necessities as Israel continues its fight against militant group Hamas.

The U.S. has taken steps in recent weeks to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza amid criticism of Israel’s actions in the territory. The United States military began delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza via C-130 cargo planes earlier this month.

Defense Department press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the temporary report “allows for shipping vessels to transfer cargo to smaller vessels to transport and offload cargo to a temporary causeway for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” but noted that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground in the enclave.

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