Four US navy vessels off coast of Gaza have broken off their moorings

(MENAFN) In a setback to the United States Navy's humanitarian mission to deliver aid to Gaza, four naval vessels connected to a floating pier off the coast of Gaza have broken off their moorings and run aground on an Israeli beach, according to statements from the United States Central Command (CENTCOM).

The floating pier, constructed on orders from United States President Joe Biden to facilitate aid delivery to Gaza amid the Israeli military operation, has been operational for just over a week. The project, spearheaded by the Pentagon, comes with an estimated cost of $320 million.

CENTCOM reported that on Saturday, four vessels became disconnected from the jetty, resulting in their grounding on an Israeli beach due to adverse weather conditions. Despite the incident, no casualties were reported, and operations at the pier remained unaffected.

According to the Times of Israel, the first ship became stuck on a beach in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, while another vessel dispatched to assist also ran aground. Currently, two vessels are anchored near the pier, while the third and fourth ships are beached near the city of Ashkelon.

Recovery efforts are underway with assistance from the Israeli military, although CENTCOM emphasized that no United States personnel would enter Gaza during the operation.

This setback follows earlier challenges encountered during the aid mission, including injuries sustained by three United States soldiers while working on the pier, with one requiring hospitalization in Israel.

Furthermore, aid deliveries via the pier faced disruption when Palestinians reportedly rushed at moving trucks and looted their cargo, prompting the temporary halt of deliveries on Sunday and Monday. Despite these challenges, Daniel Dieckhaus, USAID's Gaza Response Manager, assured that such incidents represent a minority of the overall shipments, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.



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