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US troops hurt during Gaza relief mission

Three soldiers have been injured while helping to deliver humanitarian aid through a newly built pier on the Mediterranean coast

The US military’s newly launched mission to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza through a newly built pier on the Mediterranean coast has resulted in non-combat injuries to at least three soldiers, including one who was reported to be critically wounded.

The three injuries occurred on Thursday, marking the first such incidents since US troops started using the new pier for aid deliveries earlier this month. Two of the service members suffered minor injuries and were able to return to duty, while the third had to be evacuated to an Israeli hospital for treatment, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, deputy chief of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), told reporters.

Cooper did not provide details on how the incidents occurred. The most seriously wounded soldier was hurt while working on a ship off the coast. Unidentified military officials told USNI News that the service member was working on a staging platform and was critically injured.

The US military built the temporary pier to facilitate deliveries of food and other humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. More than 35,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian enclave since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, according to Gaza health authorities. The World Food Program reported last week that Gazans were suffering a “full-blown famine” because not enough aid was getting into the besieged enclave amid Israeli bombardments.

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US ships route aid from humanitarian groups and donor countries through Cyprus to a floating dock about two miles off the Gaza coast. The shipments are then loaded onto trucks and transported by US Army watercraft to the new pier. From there, aid workers take the supplies into distribution centers inside Gaza.

More than 820 metric tons of aid had been delivered by US personnel as of Wednesday, CENTCOM said. Of that total, 150 metric tons arrived on Wednesday. However, only around 60% of the supplies have made it from the coastal transfer point to UN warehouses.

Onshore shipments were suspended for two days because some of the trucks were looted by Palestinians after leaving the coast. The offshore operation also has failed to get up to speed. The US military had planned to transport about 500 tons a day initially and increase its volumes over time. Wednesday’s total was 70% below the initial goal.

The pier operation is reportedly estimated to cost $320 million and involves 1,000 US service members. US President Joe Biden has insisted that no American troops will enter Gaza.


READ MORE: US completes aid pier at Gaza beach

 

May 25, 2024 at 02:26AM
RT

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