A driver secures a humanitarian aid truck before it crosses the Israel-Gaza border, in Erez, southern Israel. Image Credit: Bloomberg

JERUSALEM: Israel said it reopened the Kerem Shalom border crossing to humanitarian aid for Gaza on Wednesday, four days after closing it in response to a rocket attack that killed four soldiers.

“Trucks from Egypt carrying humanitarian aid, including food, water, shelter equipment, medicine and medical equipment donated by the international community are already arriving at the crossing,” the army said in a joint statement with COGAT, the defence ministry body that oversees Palestinian civil affairs.

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Meanwhile, the US military has completed construction of its Gaza aid pier, but weather conditions mean it is currently unsafe to move the two-part facility into place, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The pier - which the US military started building last month and which will cost at least $320 million - is aimed at boosting deliveries of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Gaza, which has been ravaged by seven months of Israeli operations against Hamas.

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“As of today, the construction of the two portions of the JLOTS - the floating pier and the Trident pier - are complete and awaiting final movement offshore,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists, using an acronym for Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore - the official name for the pier capability.

“Today there are still forecasted high winds and high sea swells, which are causing unsafe conditions for the JLOTS components to be moved. So the pier sections and military vessels involved in its construction are still positioned at the port of Ashdod,” in Israel, Singh said.

US Central Command “stands by to move the pier into position in the near future,” she added.

The vessels and the under-construction pier were moved to the port due to bad weather last week. Once the weather clears, the pier will be anchored to the Gaza shore by Israeli soldiers, keeping US troops off the ground.

Aid will then be transported via commercial vessels to a floating platform off the Gaza coast, where it will be transferred to smaller vessels, brought to the pier, and taken to land by truck for distribution.

Plans for the pier were first announced by US President Joe Biden in early March as Israel held up deliveries of assistance by ground, and US Army troops and vessels soon set out on a lengthy trip to the Mediterranean to build the pier.

Some two months later, the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire.