UNITED NATIONS: The UN World Food Programme has suspended the delivery of aid to Gaza via a temporary US military pier in order to assess the security situation, a spokesperson said on Monday.

Stephane Dujarric linked the move to an Israeli hostage rescue operation over the weekend that freed four people, but which health officials in Hamas-ruled Gaza say killed 274 people and wounded almost 700, many of them women and children.

“World Food Programme colleagues tell us that we are temporarily pausing operations at the floating dock until a thorough assessment of the security situation is conducted to ensure the safety of our staff and our partners,” said Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general.

“We’ve all seen what happened in Gaza over the weekend. We’ve seen some of the media reports. We’ve also taken note of very public statements by the US Central Command that the floating pier had not been used in the operation by the Israeli forces regarding the hostages,” he said.

“I think it’s only normal after such a such an operation takes place with such a large number of victims, that our humanitarian colleagues take a pause, look at the situation. And hopefully it can be returned to use as quickly as possible from our end,” Dujarric added.

Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists on Monday that the Israeli operation took place near the temporary pier, but was completely separate from the aid delivery effort and its equipment and personnel.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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