Pentagon: US Auxiliary Pier in Gaza Strip Will Not Be Used in Israeli Prisoner Rescue Mission - Latest Global News

Pentagon: US Auxiliary Pier in Gaza Strip Will Not Be Used in Israeli Prisoner Rescue Mission

The US calls it a “coincidence” that the deadly Israeli operation took place near a floating dock built to deliver aid to Gaza.

The United States has stressed that its makeshift auxiliary pier in Gaza was not used in the Israeli prisoner rescue operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, in which more than 270 people were killed.

The Pentagon said on Monday that reports linking the pier to Saturday’s Israeli attack that led to the release of four prisoners held by Hamas were “inaccurate.”

“It was close, but I think it’s beside the point. Again, the pier, the equipment, the personnel supporting this humanitarian action had nothing to do with this. [Israeli military] rescue operation,” Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder told reporters.

He added that the Israeli operation – despite its proximity to the US floating dock – did not put American personnel at “any major risk”.

“To be clear, the temporary pier on Gaza’s shore was built for one purpose only: to help bring additional, urgently needed life-saving aid to Gaza,” Ryder said.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the Israeli military used a helicopter to evacuate three of the prisoners and the soldiers who freed them from a beach “not far” from the U.S. pier.

During the operation, the Israeli military intensively bombed the Nuseirat area, killing at least 274 people, including dozens of women and children, according to Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip.

President Joe Biden’s administration praised the rescue of the prisoners.

“We welcome the rescue of four hostages who are finally reunited with their families in Israel after eight months of captivity. The United States will not rest until all hostages are returned home,” the State Department said in a statement on Saturday.

While the US military denies involvement in the attack, several international media outlets, including the New York Times, reported that American government officials provided intelligence that was helpful in the operation.

Hamas condemned Washington’s alleged involvement in the mission, saying it “proves once again the complicity of the US government and its full involvement in the war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip.”

The Palestinian group said the attack also raised questions about the United States’ stated concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Biden announced the decision to build the humanitarian pier in March, when Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip was still in place, sparking fears of famine.

The floating US pier was completed in May, but within weeks suffered severe weather damage that required repairs. The pier was rebuilt on Friday.

Aid organizations have been arguing for weeks that the US port is not a suitable substitute for the delivery of humanitarian aid by land.

At the end of May, 20 aid organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, described the dock set up by the United States as part of “cosmetic changes” that do not adequately address the crisis.

“As Israeli attacks on Rafah intensify, the unpredictable influx of aid into Gaza has created the illusion of improved access, when in reality humanitarian assistance is on the verge of collapse,” the groups said in a statement.

The Nuseirat attack could further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended its aid deliveries in Gaza following the operation.

“Two of our warehouses were hit by rockets yesterday, so we have withdrawn for the moment to make sure we are in safe conditions and on safe ground before we start again,” WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain told CBS News on Sunday.

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