蘑菇影院

US will store aid on secure beach in Gaza as UN pauses distribution from pier

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WASHINGTON (蘑菇影院) 鈥 The U.S. military said Monday that it plans to stockpile aid shipments on a secure beach in Gaza during a U.N. pause on distributing food from the American-built pier after one of the deadliest days of the Israel-Hamas war.

The U.N. World Food Program, which works with U.S. officials to transfer desperately needed aid from the month-old pier to warehouses and local relief teams in Gaza, tweeted Monday that the U.N. would conduct a security review to assess the safety of its staff in handling aid deliveries from the pier. It said the pause would be temporary.

A humanitarian official familiar with the situation said the security review is expected to conclude within a few days and U.N. officials would then make decisions on resuming operations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning.

The pause, which WFP head Cindy McCain first announced in a TV interview Sunday, is the latest trouble to hit the Biden administration鈥檚 new sea route for bringing in aid to Palestinians. It also signals sharpened concern by the U.N. and relief organizations about their ability to safely care for Gaza鈥檚 civilians during the eight-month-old war.

The review follows an Israeli military operation on Saturday that rescued four Israeli hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, in the attack that triggered the war, and left 274 Palestinians and one Israeli commando dead.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said 鈥渋t鈥檚 only normal鈥 that U.N. humanitarian officials pause and review the security situation following the Israeli operation. McCain said Sunday that two of WFP鈥檚 warehouses had been 鈥渞ocketed鈥 and a staffer injured.

When such large-scale military operations take place, Dujarric said, 鈥測ou can only imagine the difficulties in distributing the aid, both for the safety of those who are trying to get it and those who are trying to distribute it.鈥

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said the delivery of aid from Cyprus to the pier was paused due to high seas Sunday and Monday but would resume Tuesday. He said there is enough space for aid to be stored in a secure holding area on the beach until agencies restart distribution into Gaza.

鈥淚t鈥檚 a pretty large area,鈥 he told reporters. 鈥淚 think we can continue to stockpile aid in the assembly area for onward distribution.鈥

The pause came just a day after the U.S. military and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is coordinating logistics with relief groups, said Saturday that the pier restarted operations after repairs. Part of the structure broke apart in rough seas and bad weather late last month.

Saturday鈥檚 fighting, followed by the pause for the security review, blocked the planned distribution of aid from the pier, the humanitarian official said.

President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. military to construct the pier in March, in hopes of carving out an alternative aid route as the fighting and Israeli restrictions sharply limit shipments through land borders. But rough seas in the Mediterranean, insecurity within Gaza and a surge in fighting since early May mean the pier, completed in mid-May, has been able to operate for only about a week.

Ryder, pushing back against claims on social media, denied that any aspect of the pier or its equipment had been used in Saturday鈥檚 military operation. The Pentagon says an area south of the pier was used for the return of the freed hostages back to Israel.

鈥淧articularly in this environment, given what you鈥檙e seeing play out in the Israel-Hamas conflict, there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation about what U.S. forces are or are not doing,鈥 he told reporters.

Ryder said the U.S. did an air drop of more than 10 metric tons of ready-to-eat meals Sunday.

U.S. and international officials and private aid organizations say only a steady daily flow of hundreds of truck shipments through land borders can address the need for food and emergency aid in Gaza. More than 1 million people there are facing famine and all 2.3 million are struggling for food.

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Lederer reported from the United Nations.

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