Biden's DOD halts $320 million Gaza aid package after pier suffers weather damage

The United States Department of Defense was forced to suspend its aid deliveries by sea for Gaza after Biden's $320 million temporary pier system off Gaza's coast suffered weather damage just two weeks after it became operational, according to United Nations, US, and Israeli officials speaking with NBC News.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that the pier would be removed from the coast of Gaza over the next couple of days to be repaired, per AP News.

The damage reportedly happened to a causeway attached to the Gaza beach that was used to shuttle aid via small boats after it was initially unloaded on a giant floating dock. It could take a week to repair, according to the UN official.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters that the pier would be taken to the southern Israeli city of Ashdod where it would be repaired US Central Command for "at least over a week."

“From when it was operational, it was working, and we just had sort of an unfortunate confluence of weather storms that made it inoperable for a bit,” she said. “Hopefully just a little over a week, we should be back up and running.”

The pier system, which is known as a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) capability to the military, was constructed to help Gazans receive more aid amid the war with Israel. It was announced by Joe Biden in his State of the Union speech in March and began operating just two weeks ago. 

Since then, three American service members have been injured in noncombat accidents related to the pier, with one in critical condition in an Israeli hospital. In an unrelated incident, part of the support system for the pier broke off because of choppy waters last Saturday, per Wall Street Journal. 

This is the latest setback the US has seen while trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the strip. Last week, the Pentagon reported that 583 tons of aid on trucks destined for Gaza was stolen by looters after passing through the pier.

Image: Title: aid pier