World Food Program Halts Aid from Gaza Pier Following Deadly Israeli Operation

This development comes just two days after the U.S. repaired the pier to facilitate humanitarian aid delivery
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  • 06:13 AM, June 10, 2024
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World Food Program Halts Aid from Gaza Pier Following Deadly Israeli Operation
Israeli UH-60 'Black Hawk' helicopter landing IDF soldiers in Nuseirat to rescue hostages @via X

Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), announced a "pause" in the distribution of humanitarian aid from the American-built Joint Logistics Over the Sea (JLOTS) pier off Gaza.

The decision, driven by concerns over the safety of WFP personnel, followed a particularly deadly day in the ongoing conflict, reports The Associated Press.

The pause comes after a June 8 Israeli military operation targeting the Nuseirat refugee camp to rescue four hostages held by Hamas. The intense fighting at Nuseirat resulted in heavy casualties, with Gaza health officials reporting more than 250 deaths, primarily civilians, and around 700 injuries. Two WFP warehouses in Gaza were also struck by rockets, injuring a staff member. Israeli media reported the death of a commanding officer.

The Gaza pier was operational for only about a week before it was blown apart on May 25. The Israeli raid, which employed Black Hawks, took place a day after the pier had been repaired and reattached in Gaza. Several reports claimed it was used in the attack against the camp.


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World Food Program Halts Aid from Gaza Pier Following Deadly Israeli Operation
Trident pier at Fort Story, Va., during Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore exercise, August 2012 @DVIDS

A video on X (formerly Twitter) showing an Israeli Black Hawk near the pier fueled speculation that the humanitarian facility was involved in the hostage rescue. The U.S. military promptly denied these claims, stating, "The humanitarian pier facility, including its equipment, personnel, and assets were not used in the operation to rescue hostages today in Gaza. An area south of the facility was used by the Israelis to safely return the hostages to Israel. Any such claim to the contrary is false."

The international community widely condemned the attack on the Nuseirat camp. The UN's announcement of a pause in aid deliveries is a significant setback for the U.S.-led sea route designed to expedite aid to Gaza's beleaguered population.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in conjunction with the WFP and other humanitarian partners, is conducting a security review to ensure the safe and effective resumption of aid distribution. The duration of the pause remains uncertain.

The U.S. CENTCOM announced a humanitarian airdrop into Northern Gaza on June 9, involving a U.S. Air Force C-130. The aircraft delivered over 10 metric tons of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to provide essential relief to civilians. “To date the U.S. has airdropped more than 1,050 metric tons of humanitarian assistance in addition to the assistance delivered by the Joint Logistics Over the Sea (JLOTS) corridor,” the service said.

World Food Program Halts Aid from Gaza Pier Following Deadly Israeli Operation
Boy eats fortified biscuit from WFP at a camp for displaced people in southern Gaza @WFP

In a related development, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is returning to the Middle East to promote a ceasefire and hostage deal. However, political instability in Israel and silence from Hamas cast doubt on the success of his efforts. Washington has reversed its opposition to an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) buffer zone in Gaza, ahead of a crucial UN Security Council vote on a resolution supporting a proposed hostage-for-ceasefire deal with Hamas.