US dispatches aid ship to Gaza after Biden vows to build temporary pier

The US Army has dispatched a ship to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday, days after President Joe Biden vowed to build a temporary pier to supply the besieged enclave.

The General Frank S. Besson left Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia “less than 36 hours after President Biden announced the US would provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza by sea,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

The logistics support vessel is “carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies,” it said.

Biden’s announcement in his State of the Union address on Thursday followed UN warnings of widespread famine among Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians five months after Israel launched its offensive in the narrow strip in response to an attack by Hamas militants.

Gaza has no port infrastructure. The US initially plans to use Cyprus, which is offering a process for screening cargoes that will include Israel officials, removing the need for security checks in Gaza.

Most of Gaza’s people are now internally displaced, with severe bottlenecks in aid deliveries at land border checkpoints.

Gaza has been under an Israeli navy blockade since 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave. There have been few direct sea arrivals since then.

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