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A massive U.S. dock to deliver food and other humanitarian aid will reach Gaza tonight

The United States has begun moving a floating dock system for the delivery of critical humanitarian aid into the waters off the Gaza Strip and expects the system to be installed within the next 24 hours, it said. three US officials said.

The U.S. military began towing the system Wednesday afternoon from the Israeli port of Ashdod, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Gaza. Once it’s in place, officials said delivery of food and other aid could begin within 24 to 48 hours of installation.

The dock system will be anchored between 3 and 5 miles off the coast, and food and other aid will be moved from the dock to a causeway on Gaza Beach, which is expected to be installed overnight.

In a statement, a defense official said: “Earlier today, components of the temporary jetty that make up our joint overseas logistics capability, as well as the military vessels involved in its construction, began to deploy. move from the port of Ashdod to Gaza. where it will be anchored at the beach to help deliver international humanitarian aid.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday gave Central Command Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla permission to proceed with the installation of the dock, known as the JLOTS system, officials said.

The system had been assembled and waiting in Ashdod since earlier this month, but the Pentagon did not approve its move due to weather and security concerns, the officials said. The sea is expected to be stable over the next few days and the security situation remains largely the same, which is why the decision was made to move it on Wednesday.

The aid distribution system is complex, with civilian humanitarian ships, a dock, trucks, smaller U.S. Army boats, and a causeway all involved in transporting supplies to the beach, with US Navy ships for security. But once operational, it can provide much greater help than airdrops. Defense officials say the first 48 hours of its operation are expected to provide more aid than all the airdrops combined to date.

Sections of a floating pier next to the Roy P. Benavidez, a U.S. Navy cargo ship, in the Mediterranean on April 26.Maxar via AFP – Getty Images

The United States began shipping items needed to build the system from Virginia to the Mediterranean in March, just weeks after President Joe Biden announced plans for the dock and delivery of aid in his State of the Union address.

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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