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US says ‘hundreds of tons’ of aid ready for Gaza pier

Gaza pier

Hundreds of tons of aid is ready to flow into Gaza once the United States opens a temporary pier, US officials said Wednesday, as they also pushed for the reopening of a key land crossing.

In a briefing with reporters, US officials involved in the pier project, in which humanitarian aid will be screened and loaded in Cyprus before being offloaded into Gaza, repeated that it would become operational “in the coming days.”

“Today we have hundreds of tons of aid ready for delivery and thousands of tons of aid in the pipeline,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command which operates in the Middle East.

Cooper also warned that the United States would not tolerate attacks on the pier, saying it took the security of service members and humanitarian workers “very seriously.”

“This is a 100 percent humanitarian mission and any attack on those working on it — on this mission — is an attack on aid for the people of Gaza,” he said.

The temporary pier, announced in March by President Joe Biden and built at a cost of at least $320 million, is an extraordinary effort to get around restrictions imposed not by a hostile state but a close US ally, Israel.

Israel launched a major offensive after Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, carried out an unprecedented attack inside Israel on October 7.

The United Nations says that virtually the entire population of Gaza of more than two million is displaced and food insecure, with the risk of famine looming.

The primary crossing from Gaza into Egypt at Rafah has been closed for days after Israel seized it from Hamas, with Israel threatening an assault on the city of Rafah in defiance of US warnings of risks for civilians.

Dan Dieckhaus of the US Agency for International Development said the United States was seeking the reopening of Rafah.

“The needs in Gaza are so immense that we cannot afford for any crossings to go offline,” he said.

“We are pressing all parties to come to some sort of arrangement that can more immediately open Rafah and see assistance coming from Egypt.”

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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