NATIONAL NEWS

Biden will announce a plan for a temporary port on Gaza’s coast to increase flow of humanitarian aid

Mar 7, 2024, 9:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will announce a plan in his State of the Union address Thursday for the U.S. military to help establish a temporary port on the Gaza coast, increasing the flow of humanitarian aid for the beleaguered territory during the Israel-Hamas war, according to administration officials.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement, said the operation will not require that American troops be on the ground to build the pier that is intended to allow more shipments of food, medicine and other essential items.

The officials did not provide details about how the pier would be built. One noted that the U.S. military has “unique capabilities” and can do things from “just offshore.”

The move provides one more layer to the extraordinary dynamic that’s emerged as the United States has had to go around Israel, its main Mideast ally, and find ways to get aid into Gaza, including through airdrops.

Biden last week first raised the idea of establishing a “marine corridor,” saying the U.S. was working with allies on how it might provide assistance from the sea to those in Gaza.

Gen. Erik Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he had briefed officials on such a maritime option.

Also Thursday, the U.S. conducted a third airdrop in the northern part of Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence. Kurilla said Central Command has provided options for increasing the number of trucks taking aid to those areas.

Five months of fighting between Israel and Hamas have left much of Hamas-run Gaza in ruins and led to a worsening humanitarian catastrophe. Many Palestinians, especially in the devastated north, are scrambling for food to survive.

Aid groups have said it has become nearly impossible to deliver supplies within most of Gaza because of the difficulty of coordinating with the Israeli military, the ongoing hostilities and the breakdown of public order.

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Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

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Biden will announce a plan for a temporary port on Gaza’s coast to increase flow of humanitarian aid