US dispatches aid ship to Gaza after Biden vows to build pier

US dispatches aid ship to Gaza after Biden vows to build pier
The US Army has dispatched a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, where dozens have already died from malnutrition.
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The U.S. initially plans to use Cyprus to send aid from to Gaza, which has no port infrastructure [Getty]

The U.S. Army has dispatched a ship to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Sunday, days after President Joe Biden vowed to build a temporary pier to supply the besieged and war-battered enclave.

The General Frank S. Besson left Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia "less than 36 hours after President Biden announced the U.S. would provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza by sea," CENTCOM said in a statement.

The logistics support vessel is "carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies," it said.

Biden's announcement in his State of the Union address on Thursday followed U.N. warnings of widespread famine among Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, five months after Israel launched its unprecedented air and ground offensive in the narrow coastal strip in response to Hamas' attack.

More than 31,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli bombardment.

Gaza has no port infrastructure. The U.S. initially plans to use Cyprus, which is offering a process for screening cargoes that will include Israel officials, removing the need for security checks in Gaza.

Most of Gaza's people are now internally displaced, with severe bottlenecks in aid deliveries at land border checkpoints.

Gaza has been under an Israeli navy blockade since 2007. There have been few direct sea arrivals since then.