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Rough seas cause portion of US temporary aid pier off Gaza to detach

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(WASHINGTON) — The flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza over the U.S. Army’s temporary Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) system has been paused after rough seas caused parts of the pier to detach, a U.S. official told ABC News Tuesday.

At a press briefing on Tuesday an Israeli Defense Forces official also confirmed that JLOTS is not functioning after parts broke off during high seas off the coast of Gaza.

That official said that it will likely be a few more days before the pier can resume operations.

The sea conditions in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Gaza have already caused issues for the U.S. Army’s temporary pier system, intended to create a maritime corridor for international aid to be delivered from Cyprus into Gaza.

U.S. officials have said that the pier’s operations were always intended to begin slowly and then ramp up as more aid arrived from Cyprus. So far, the U.S. has said that 820 metric tons of aid had made it to shore.

Over the weekend, U.S. Central Command confirmed that four small U.S. Army vessels involved in the transport of cargo from sea to the 1,500 foot causeway attached to a beach in Gaza had broken free as a result of rough seas.

“The vessels broke free from their moorings and two vessels are now anchored on the beach near the pier,” said a statement issued Saturday. “The third and fourth vessels are beached on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon. Efforts to recover the vessels are under way with assistance from the Israeli Navy.”

At the time, CENTCOM said that the Israeli Defense Forces would support the recovery efforts near the pier and that the pier remained fully functional.

The rough seas off of Gaza had earlier led to delay in the initial deployment of the JLOTS systems, forcing the U.S. military to eventually set it up in calmer seas off of Ashdod, Israel, before moving it down to waters off of Gaza.

It is unclear whether this latest setback will lead to consideration of other alternative ways of transporting the aid from Cyprus into Gaza.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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