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US military pier for delivering humanitarian aid repaired, reconnected to Gaza beach

(TEL AVIV, Israel) – After being out of use for nearly two weeks, the US military’s temporary pier was repaired and reattached to a beach in Gaza on Friday morning. Humanitarian aid deliveries are expected to resume “in the coming days.” said a top US official.

The Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) system operated for just over a week before high seas damaged the pier, requiring extensive repairs that ended the U.S. goal of providing an additional route for food and humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“I am very pleased to announce that U.S. forces in Gaza earlier this morning successfully secured the temporary pier on the Gaza beach,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the deputy of U.S. Central Command, told reporters on Friday.

The specific part of the pier that broke off from the causeway and was anchored to the beach is the larger platform where small army ships unloaded the trucks that would be driven onto it. The trucks would then head to a staging area where the aid would be transferred by the United Nations World Food Program to other trucks for distribution in Gaza.

“The policy of not using American boots on the ground remains in effect. We expect to resume the delivery of humanitarian aid from the sea in the coming days,” he added.

The reattachment to the beach was carried out by Israeli Army engineers, just as was done the first time when the pier opened in mid-May.

But a week later, on May 25, the pier suffered major damage due to high waves caused by a storm system north of Africa. The pier was then towed to the port of Ashdod, Israel, where it took more than a week to rebuild the damaged parts.

During the week-long operation, 1,000 tons of aid, equivalent to more than P2 million, entered Gaza through JLOTS, accounting for approximately 30% of all aid delivered to Gaza that week.

With the resumption of operations, JLOTS will become the third aid route to Gaza, at a time when small amounts of aid are entering Gaza via the other two land routes.

“Given its proven success, we expect to increase the volume of humanitarian assistance delivered through the pier compared to previous levels,” Cooper said. “We anticipate that our goal will be to deliver 500,000 pounds across the beach initially and ramp up quickly thereafter. So basically a million pounds every day, for every two day period.”

Aid will start flowing soon, but for now conditions are being assessed to ensure weather conditions are suitable and everything is working properly before aid deliveries resume.

Cooper said “thousands of pounds of aid” would be moved across the pier in the coming days. While the JLOTS system was inoperative and under repair, food deliveries to U.S. ships offshore continued to allow delivery via JLOTS once it was repaired and reattached.

And given that weather conditions have already affected operations, Cooper said contingency plans are in place if weather becomes an issue again.

Prior to the arrival of JLOTS, the US military had air-dropped food and humanitarian aid into Gaza, but Cooper said these operations halted due to new fighting in Gaza’s northern areas.

“We expect these to resume here in the coming days,” he said.

A soldier injured during JLOTS operations in late May remains in critical condition and has been taken to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, an official said.

The JLOTS pier system is expected to generate nearly $100 million below its initial estimated operating cost of $320 million, the Pentagon said Thursday.

“Lower-than-expected costs for hired truck drivers and commercial ships, and the U.K. contribution of a birthship for our soldiers and sailors, have lowered our latest cost estimate to approximately $230 million,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, told reporters on Thursday .

She added that the lower figure will take into account the cost of repairing the pier.

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