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US-built pier in Gaza facing latest challenge — will UN keep delivering aid

WASHINGTON — The U.S.-built aid pier will be detached from Gaza’s coast for a second time due to rough seas, two U.S. officials said Friday, raising further questions about the viability of the sea route.

The military would move the pier late Friday and into Saturday to prevent it from breaking apart as it did late last month in bad weather, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military planning. The officials expect the pier will be back in place and operating again by next week.

The $230 million project has been beset by security, logistical and other problems since aid first rolled ashore May 17.

Although aid has been unloaded in a secure area onshore for several days, humanitarian agencies have stopped picking up and distributing it throughout Gaza.

The U.N. is weighing whether it can safely and ethically keep delivering supplies from the pier, after Israeli forces used the area near the pier to evacuate hostages and a wounded commando, according to the U.S. and Israeli militaries, during last week’s operation.

Rushing out a mortally wounded Israeli commando after the raid, Israeli rescuers opted against returning the way they came, across a land border, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters. Instead, they sped toward the beach and the site of the U.S. aid hub on Gaza’s coast, he said. An Israeli helicopter touched down near the U.S.-built pier and helped whisk away hostages and the commando, according to the U.S. and Israeli militaries.

President Joe Biden said Thursday he doesn’t expect to seal a Gaza cease-fire deal in the near future, as an American-backed proposal with global support has not been fully embraced by Israel or Hamas terrorists.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which terrorists stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

The ensuing war has killed more than 37,100 people, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

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