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Article: Aid trucks begin moving ashore via Gaza pier, US says

Aid trucks begin moving ashore via Gaza pier, US says

Aid trucks begin moving ashore via Gaza pier, US says

PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and the Israeli military put in place the Trident Pier, a temporary pier to deliver humanitarian aid, on the Gaza coast, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, May 16, 2024. U.S. Central Command/Handout via REUTERS



GAZA (Reuters) -Aid trucks began moving through a temporary U.S.-built pier off the Gaza Strip on Friday, amid growing international pressure to get more supplies into the besieged coastal enclave, where hundreds of thousands face an acute humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. Central Command said trucks carrying humanitarian assistance began moving ashore via the pier at 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).

The floating pier was pre-assembled by the U.S. military at the Israeli port of Ashdod and moved into place this week on the shore of Gaza, which lacks port infrastructure of its own, however no U.S. troops went ashore, Centcom said.

Aid arriving at the pier would be part of "an ongoing, multinational effort" and would involve commodities donated by a number of countries and humanitarian organisations, it said.

The UK said it had delivered its first aid shipment via the pier, while the United Nations said it was also finalising plans to distribute aid delivered via the route. However, the UN also reiterated that truck convoys arriving by land were the "most viable, effective and efficient" method of getting aid into Gaza.

"To stave off the horrors of famine, we must use the fastest and most obvious route to reach the people of Gaza – and for that, we need access by land now," deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Supplies that are unloaded on the pier will be subject to Israeli security checks in Cyprus before arriving but will have to pass through additional Israeli checkpoints once they land, U.S. administration officials have said.

Aid groups, the United Nations and Israel's closest allies, have all demanded that it do more to get aid into Gaza, which has been largely laid to waste by the Israeli campaign launched last year after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct.7.

A new wave of upheaval has created additional need, as hundreds of thousands of people already displaced by the war and sheltering in the southern Gaza city of Rafah have evacuated to areas in central Gaza in anticipation of an Israeli assault.

Israel has said it is stepping up efforts to get aid into Gaza, and the military said 365 aid trucks had entered through the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossing points on Thursday, carrying flour and fuel.

In addition, hundreds of tents were delivered, intended for people evacuated from Rafah to the Al-Mawasi area, which Israel has declared a humanitarian zone.

Israel also recently started moving supplies through a new point close to the existing Erez crossing in nothern Gaza. However supplies through the southern crossings of Rafah and Kerem Shalom have been disrupted by its seizure of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing earlier this month.

"The IDF will continue its efforts to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip by land, air, and sea, in accordance with international law," it said in a statement.

The Israeli military said new inspection routes had been opened up in the occupied West Bank through the Tarqumiyah and Beitunia crossing points.

However, supplies coming through the West Bank have been disrupted by attacks carried out by Israeli settlers protesting against sending aid into Gaza.

(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and James Mackenzie; editing by Christina Fincher and Sharon Singleton)



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