583 tons of humanitarian aid slated for Gaza STOLEN by looters: US Pentagon

The United States Pentagon said on Tuesday that 569 metric tons of humanitarian aid destined for Palestinians was stolen by looters after it had passed through the US-built floating pier into the wartorn Gazan mainland.

Several trucks transporting humanitarian aid were intercepted and none of the aid reached the Palestinians, said Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder. It is unclear who was involved in the looting; but, earlier this month, the US State Department stated that the Hamas terror group seized the first large cargo of humanitarian aid transported to Gaza via Jordan before the UN moved to recover it.

Ryder said the aid had been seized after it had passed through the pier. Alternative land routes are now being discussed to ensure Palestinians receive the necessary goods.

"Some of that initial aid that was brought in, as it was being taken along a transportation route, was intercepted by some people who took that aid off those vehicles," said Ryder, according to the New York Post. "Subsequently, there’s been discussions by which to ensure that there’s alternate routes so that it can be delivered to warehouses."

The spokesperson said the aid was stolen "Once it left that maritime marshaling area."

"I think we can all agree that demonstrates the importance of making sure that we can continue to get aid into Gaza, not only by maritime routes but also by land routes ... 
There have been discussions between the US, Israel, United Nations, as well as joint efforts to identify alternative routes for the safe movement of staff and cargo," said Ryder, who noted that the safety of aid workers is a top priority.

When asked by reporters if any of the aid reached the Palestinians, Ryder said: "I do not believe so."

The United Nations World Food Program is one of the NGOs involved in the transportation of aid. On Saturday, the organization said only five of the sixteen vehicles intended to carry relief from the beach to a warehouse were able to get to their destination, the Associated Press reports.

UNWFP authorities reported that during the terrifying incident, a throng "commandeered" 11 trucks, resulting in the death of one Palestinian.

Once the aid arrives at the floating pier, US military forces take it to a causeway that links the pier to the mainland. After that, non-US contractors bring it onto land and place it in an assembly location. NGOs then pick up the pallets to be sent to warehouses, in which the aid is then dispersed to needy citizens.

The Pentagon spokesman stated that he anticipates a rise in the quantity of aid being distributed, but urged the public to exercise patience.

"We've been very clear from the beginning that we’re going to take a crawl, walk, run approach to make sure that we are implementing this system in a way where we’re working out the processes, the procedures, including taking into account the security conditions, said Ryder.

"So I think you’re going to see, as we work together, the amount of aid increase and the ability to get it distributed increase," he added. 

In his March State of the Union address, President Biden detailed his intentions regarding the temporary pier. He stated that the pier would enable daily access to the besieged Hamas-controlled enclave in order to provide food, water, medication, and temporary shelter.

Image: Title: aid