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US confirms first aid trucks arrive via Gaza pier

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Trucks line up near the beach waiting to deliver aid to Gaza

  • Author, Vicki Wong
  • Role, BBC News

The first shipment of humanitarian aid has arrived in Gaza via a temporary floating dock, the US military has confirmed.

US Central Command said aid trucks began arriving around 9:00 a.m. local time (07:00 BST) on Friday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said 8,400 plastic shelters had been delivered. Around 500 tonnes of British aid, including tents, hygiene kits and forklifts, are expected to reach Gaza via the pier built by the US armed forces in the coming weeks.

However, Mr Sunak said the sea route was “not the only answer” to the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

“We must open more land routes, including through the Rafah crossing, to ensure more aid reaches civilians who desperately need help. »

British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: “Gazans face starvation and are in desperate need of supplies. Israel must ensure that land routes are open and that aid arrives safely where it is needed. »

Mr Sunak and Lord Cameron reiterated their calls for Israelis to stick to their commitment to allow at least 500 aid trucks a day into Gaza, where around 2.2 million people are in urgent need of food , shelter and other assistance.

Also Friday, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said U.S. aid was arriving in Cyprus. “It will be controlled by Israeli authorities and loaded onto ships for delivery via the sea corridor and will be loaded onto ships bound for Gaza,” he told reporters.

He added that it was important that the Rafah crossing – which Israel seized last week – was “opened immediately”. Israel and Egypt blame each other for its closure.

The pier is expected to provide access for 90 aid trucks initially, then 150 once it is fully operational.

British personnel worked with their American counterparts on board the RFA Cardigan Bay to construct and operate the jetty.

The United States began building the floating base a few weeks ago to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza as Israel continues its military campaign against Hamas.

Smaller US military ships – capable of carrying between five and 15 aid trucks – then transported it to the floating jetty, several hundred meters long and attached to the Gaza beach.

The trucks drove along the pier before dropping off the emergency supplies at a marshalling yard on the beach.

Officials said the UN, and primarily the World Food Program, would be responsible for further distribution of aid.

The Israeli offensive began after Hamas gunmen stormed into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 252 others hostage to Gaza.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since then, according to figures from the Hama-led Health Ministry.

Legend, Aid will be collected from a floating base before being transported to Gaza

They were evacuated Friday through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, American diplomats reportedly said. This crossing was also closed by Israel last week, but later reopened.

Deliveries to Gaza have slowed considerably. Sending aid by land can be dangerous, with convoys sometimes raided by gangs and mobbed by desperate civilians.

Image source, Department of Defense

Legend, The British government confirmed that British staff helped deliver enough supplies to feed 11,000 people.

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