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Militants Based in Gaza Assault Israeli Forces Preparing for US Pier

Gaza-based militants attack Israeli forces (Credits: Responsible Statecraft)

On Wednesday, Gaza-based militants launched mortar rounds at Israeli forces preparing for a US-led effort to establish a new maritime aid route for Gaza. The attack occurred before US personnel began constructing a floating pier, which is part of a project aimed at expanding access to humanitarian aid.

According to three US officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive plans, no American equipment was damaged in the attack. The project, which will establish a pier a few miles offshore and a causeway anchored to the beach, is not yet complete, but is expected to be operational by the end of the month or early May.

The attack, which caused minimal damage, targeted the area where preparations for the project were underway. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the attack, stating that militants from various groups in the Gaza Strip targeted the “engineering work area in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Israeli Defense Forces (Credits: The Media Line)

The attack occurred while United Nations officials were touring the area, and they were instructed to seek shelter by IDF soldiers.

The US-led project aims to expand access to humanitarian aid in Gaza, which has been facing a severe humanitarian crisis due to the ongoing conflict. The project will allow for the delivery of aid by sea, bypassing the current land-based routes, which Israel and Egypt have restricted.

The Pentagon has stated that US military vessels transporting materials for pier construction are on standby

The Pentagon has said that US military ships carrying equipment to build the pier are standing by in the Mediterranean, ready to begin construction once final preparations are complete.

According to one of the US officials, the attack may have been a “target of opportunity” for the militants, who may not have known what they were attacking.

The official stated that a “small number of mortars” caused “minimal damage” in the vicinity of the “marshalling yard area for humanitarian assistance that will soon be delivered by sea.” The attack did not delay efforts for the maritime corridor, and the project remains on schedule to begin initial operations in early May.

The IDF condemned the attack, stating that it was “further proof of the continuous attempts made by the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to systematically harm humanitarian efforts, endangering the lives of UN workers while Israel remains committed to enabling and facilitating humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians.”

The IDF added that the attack occurred while UN officials were touring the area, and that they were instructed to seek shelter by IDF soldiers.

The Israeli Defense Forces (Credits: The Times of Israel)

Despite the attack, the project remains on schedule, and US military personnel are expected to begin pier construction soon. The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to expand humanitarian aid to Gaza, with a senior administration official stating that the US is doing everything possible to “truly surge humanitarian assistance in Gaza.”

The official added that “this week, we are doing everything we possibly can to surge humanitarian assistance in Gaza truly, and that is happening now.”

The US-led project is seen as a major step towards addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which the ongoing conflict has exacerbated. The project will allow for the delivery of much-needed aid, including food, medicine, and shelter, to the people of Gaza.

The attack on the project’s preparations reminds us of the challenges and risks involved in delivering humanitarian aid in conflict zones, but the US and its partners remain committed to supporting the people of Gaza.

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