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U.S. Army aid vessels become unmoored near floating Gaza pier

A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier constructed to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip on May 16.
Abdel Kareem Hana
/
AP
A ship is seen off the coast of Gaza near a U.S.-built floating pier constructed to facilitate aid deliveries, as seen from the central Gaza Strip on May 16.

Four U.S. Army vessels supporting the humanitarian floating pier mission in Gaza became unmoored by rough seas, military officials said.

Two vessels are now anchored on a Gaza beach near the pier, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Saturday. The other two are beached further north, on the coast of Israel near Ashkelon.

Israeli forces are assisting recovery efforts near the pier and no U.S. personnel will enter Gaza, CENTCOM said. No injuries were reported, and the pier remains fully functional, according to the statement.

A tugboat and a landing craft mechanized (LCM) washed ashore in Israel, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR. LCMs transport vehicles and were notably used during World War II for amphibious landings of troops and tanks.

This comes just days after a U.S. service member was hospitalized for a serious injury sustained during the Gaza aid pier operation. Two other service members had minor injuries. None of the injuries were the result of combat.

The temporary pier, situated just north of Rafah, was recently erected by U.S. troops to expand the flow of food and other supplies to starving Palestinians as Israel’s war against Hamas continues. Israel’s closures and restrictions on land crossings in Gaza have limited the flow of aid to people there.

NPR's Tom Bowman contributed to this report.

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