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The U.S. military constructed a temporary pier to provide humanitarian aid for Gaza, but it broke apart in rough seas. This latest setback came as Israeli forces intensified attacks on the city of Rafah, following a deadly strike that killed dozens of people. Pentagon officials explained that high sea states and a North African weather system had created unfavorable conditions for the pier operation. Army engineers are working to repair the pier, with hopes of it being fully operational within a little over a week.

President Biden surprised the Pentagon in early March by announcing plans for the U.S. military to build the pier for Gaza. Defense officials had predicted logistical and security issues from the start. After the pier became operational on May 17, trucks were looted on their way to a warehouse, leading to a suspension of operations by the U.N. World Food Program. Despite increased security measures, rough weather hit earlier than expected, causing two American military vessels to beach in Israel. Part of the pier broke off, necessitating repairs to the wider parking area for dropping off supplies transported by ship.

The damaged pier is being removed from the coast of Gaza and taken to Ashdod, Israel, for repairs. While it successfully delivered 1,000 metric tons of aid before breaking apart, the $320 million project faces challenges. White House policy prohibits U.S. troops on the ground in Gaza, limiting the Pentagon’s ability to complete the mission. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with more than 34,000 people dead and over 77,000 wounded even before the recent Israeli strikes.

Despite setbacks, the Pentagon remains determined to have the pier fully operational again to continue providing aid to Gaza. The timing of the high seas and weather disruption posed unexpected challenges, leading to the breakdown of the pier. With ongoing repair efforts, officials hope to resume aid deliveries soon. The broken pier serves as a symbolic representation of the complexities of providing humanitarian assistance in conflict zones, where various factors can complicate existing challenges and impede relief efforts.

The breakdown of the pier project highlights the fragility of humanitarian operations in conflict zones such as Gaza, where logistical, security, and environmental factors can have significant impacts. The Pentagon’s initial concerns about the project were validated by the series of challenges it faced, from looting to rough seas. As officials work to repair the damaged pier, the need for continued aid and support for Gaza’s population remains paramount. Despite the setbacks, the U.S. military remains committed to fulfilling its mission to provide humanitarian assistance and support to those in need.

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