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Biden to Announce US Port in Gaza for Aid

U.S. President Joe Biden will announce in his State of the Union speech on Thursday that the U.S. military will construct a port on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to receive humanitarian assistance by sea, senior administration officials said.

The officials also said at a news briefing that Hamas is delaying a new deal with Israel on releasing hostages because it has not agreed to free sick and elderly hostages, the officials told reporters.

In his speech to Congress, Biden will announce that he has ordered the U.S. military “to undertake an emergency mission to establish a port in Gaza, working with like-minded countries and humanitarian partners,” one of the officials said.

The port, which would be temporary, would increase the amount of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the war-battered enclave by “hundreds of additional truckloads” per day, the official said, adding that the United States would coordinate security with Israel.

It also would work with the U.N. and humanitarian aid organizations that “understand the distribution of assistance within Gaza,” the official said, adding that initial supplies would come from Cyprus.
Some Democratic lawmakers were expected to wear ceasefire pins during the speech in a sign of solidarity with a movement to end Israel’s Gaza offensive.

Humanitarian aid being airdropped over southern Gaza Strip ( Photo: Kosay Al Nemer / Reuters)
U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday that the international community’s focus should be on increasing the large-scale distribution and entry of aid into Gaza by land, but any way to get more aid into the enclave is “obviously good.” Entry of aid by land, however, is cost- and volume-effective, and “we need more entry points and we need a larger volume of aid to come in by land,” he added.
It also would work with the U.N. and humanitarian aid organizations that “understand the distribution of assistance within Gaza,” the official said, adding that initial supplies would come from Cyprus.

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