U.S. aid deliveries to Gaza by sea suspended after damage to temporary pier

TEL AVIV — The United States military has been forced to suspend aid deliveries into the Gaza Strip by sea after its temporary pier system off Gaza’s coast suffered damage in bad weather, a United Nations official, a U.S. official and an Israeli official told NBC News. 

The damage was to a causeway that is attached to the beach in Gaza, the officials said. Aid is shuttled onto the causeway by small boats after being initially unloaded on the massive floating dock. The U.N. official said it could take a week to repair.  

An official announcement from the U.S. is expected Tuesday. U.S. Central Command declined to comment when contacted by NBC News. 

The damage is the latest setback to the temporary pier system, which was first announced by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address in March and became operational just two weeks ago.  

Over the weekend, four small U.S. military boats involved in ferrying aid broke from their moorings in bad weather, Central Command said. Two of them washed up on the coast of southern Israel near the city of Ashdod while the other two beached in Gaza. 

An American service member also remains in critical condition in an Israeli hospital after suffering noncombat injuries on the pier last week, a U.S. defense official said. Two other service members suffered minor injuries. 

The temporary pier, known in military parlance as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) capability, was designed to get more aid into Gaza and help fend off famine, which the U.N. says has broken out in the north of the besieged Strip.

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