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Effort to get aid to Gaza by sea moving ahead, first ship still waiting in Cyprus

WorldEffort to get aid to Gaza by sea moving ahead, first ship still waiting in Cyprus


Meanwhile, U.S. efforts began to set up the temporary pier in Gaza for sea deliveries. U.S. Central Command said that a first U.S. Army vessel, the General Frank S. Besson, left a base in Virginia on Saturday and was on its way to the Eastern Mediterranean with equipment for construction.

U.S. officials said that it would likely be weeks before the pier is operational.

The sea corridor is backed by the European Union together with the United States, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. The European Commission has said that U.N. agencies and the Red Cross will play a role.

The ship in Cyprus is expected to take two to three days to arrive at an undisclosed location in Gaza. The World Central Kitchen spokesperson said that construction work began Sunday on the jetty for it.

A member of the charity said on X, formerly Twitter, that once the ship’s barge reaches Gaza, aid would be offloaded by a crane, placed on trucks and driven to northern Gaza, which has been largely cut off from aid shipments and was the first focus of Israel’s military offensive.

Israel declared war on Oct. 7 after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 250 hostages. Israel’s air and ground offensive has devastated large parts of Gaza and displaced about 80% of the population of 2.3 million.

The U.S. and regional mediators Egypt and Qatar had hoped to have a six-week cease-fire in place by Ramadan. A deal would have seen Hamas release some Israeli hostages, Israel release some Palestinian prisoners and aid groups be given access for a major influx of aid.

In a speech broadcast Sunday, Hamas’ top leader Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel for the failure to reach a deal before Ramadan and said that the militant group is keen to resume negotiations in any framework as long as it guarantees a permanent cease-fire.



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