The US military has begun constructing a temporary pier to facilitate humanitarian aid into the famine-struck Gaza Strip, the US Department of Defence (DoD) has said.

The DoD estimated the pier will be completed by the start of May. Initially, it will facilitate the delivery of 90 truckloads of international aid into Gaza, rising to 150 truckloads “once fully operational”.

However, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said yesterday (28 April) that the pier “will probably take two to three weeks” in an interview with ABC News.

The DoD also specified that “no US boots will be on the ground in Gaza”. On-shore logistics will be run by an unnamed third-party nation, with long-time US ally Jordan assumed to be the likeliest candidate.

The UK Royal Navy, meanwhile, has promised to deploy RFA Cardigan Bay to host US troops, who will commute from the vessel to the pier, before returning each day.

Reports indicate that a US three-star general will lead a coordination cell at Hatzor Air Base, just outside Ashdod.

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The US has also established a cell in Cyprus, senior military officials said last Thursday (25 February), to coordinate logistics and maintain the flow of supplies.

ICC prepares arrest warrants for potential Israeli war crimes

US President Joe Biden originally announced the pier in March, as humanitarian organisations implored Israel to loosen strict blockages on relief supplies into Gaza.

Aid coming off the pier will need to pass Israeli Defence Forces’ (IDF) land checkpoints, despite already having been inspected by Israel in Cyprus before shipping to Gaza.  

Amid further disruptions to aid, officials continue to warn of famine in northern Gaza.

The UN has said that Gaza’s 2.3-million population is facing catastrophic food insecurity – and that starvation tactics by the IDF could amount to a war crime.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is reportedly preparing arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

Since Hamas’ attack on 7 October, the IDF’s six-month-long military campaign in the Gaza Strip has resulted in more than 34,000 casualties.

Israel has signalled it intends to continue with plans for an offensive into Rafah, southern Gaza, despite G7 leaders imploring Netanyahu to reconsider.

Earlier today (29 April), more than 20 people were confirmed dead in Rafah following overnight IDF airstrikes.