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Pentagon Says Gaza Pier Was Not Used in Israel’s Hostage Rescue Operation

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The Pentagon acknowledged that ‘some type of helicopter activity’ took place near the pier.

The Pentagon said on Monday that social media allegations suggesting that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had used the U.S.-built pier off Gaza during its hostage rescue operation were “inaccurate.”

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters that the pier facility, along with its equipment, personnel, and assets, was not involved in the IDF’s operation to rescue hostages in Gaza.

Mr. Ryder emphasized that the temporary pier was built by the U.S. Army with the sole purpose of “helping move additional urgently-needed lifesaving assistance to Gaza” amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

He acknowledged that “some type of helicopter activity” occurred nearby, but said that that would be a question for the Israeli side to address, as it was “completely separate and not associated” with the pier operation.

“So that’s really a question for the IDF. I don’t have a proximate location … It was near, but I think it’s incidental,” Mr. Ryder said during a press briefing.

“Again, the pier, the equipment, the personnel, all supporting that humanitarian effort had nothing to do with the IDF rescue operation. It is only focused on delivery of humanitarian assistance,” he added.

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He said the IDF rescue operation does not put U.S. personnel at “greater risk” despite its proximity to the pier while reiterating that the pier “had nothing to do with the rescue operation.”

Mr. Ryder also made it clear that “there was no U.S. military involvement in [the IDF’s] rescue operation, nor were there any U.S. forces on the ground.”

This comes after the IDF announced on June 8 that four hostages—Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 21; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 40—were rescued during a “high-risk” operation deep inside the Gaza Strip.

Hamas-led health officials at two separate hospitals in the enclave said that 274 people were killed and around 700 were wounded in the raid.

The Epoch Times could not independently verify casualty numbers reported by Hamas, a designated terrorist group.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview with CNN on June 9 that “innocent people” were killed during Israel’s mission to rescue hostages but said he was uncertain of the exact number.
The makeshift pier—known as a Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore (JLOTS) system—was initially attached to the shoreline on May 16 and began facilitating humanitarian traffic on May 17, before storms rendered it inoperable on May 25. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on June 7 that it had repaired the pier and reconnected it to the Gaza shoreline.

Mr. Ryder said that a total of 492 metric tons, or approximately 1.1 million pounds, had been delivered across the pier after it became operational on June 8.

“To date, CENTCOM has assisted in the delivery of more than 1,573 metric tons, or approximately 3.5 million pounds of humanitarian aid to the shore for onward distribution,” he said.

The U.S. military has used both the JLOTS pier and air-drops to facilitate increased humanitarian assistance to the embattled Gaza Strip, amid signs of a burgeoning famine in the enclave.

Lorenz Duchamps and Ryan Morgan contributed to this report.

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