British troops may deliver Gaza aid, BBC report says

LONDON — British troops may be tasked with delivering aid to Gaza from an offshore pier now under construction by the U.S. military, the BBC reported Saturday. U.K. government officials declined to comment on the report.

According to the BBC, the British government is considering deploying troops to drive the trucks that will carry aid from the pier along a floating causeway to the shore. No decision has been made, and the proposal hasn’t yet reached Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the BBC reported, citing unidentified government sources.

The report comes after a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday that there would be no American “boots on the ground” and that another nation would provide the personnel to drive the delivery trucks to the shore. The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet made public, declined to identify the third party.

Britain is already providing logistical support for construction of the pier, including a Royal Navy ship that will house hundreds of U.S. soldiers and sailors working on the project.

In addition, British military planners have been embedded at U.S. Central Command in Florida and in Cyprus, where aid will be screened before shipment to Gaza, for several weeks, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

The U.K. Hydrographic Office has also shared analysis of the Gaza shoreline with the U.S. to aid in construction of the pier.

“It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza, and the U.K. continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support in coordination with the U.S. and our international allies and partners,” Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

Development of the port and pier in Gaza comes as Israel faces widespread international criticism over the slow trickle of aid into the Palestinian territory, where the United Nations says at least a quarter of the population sits on the brink of starvation.

The Israel-Hamas began with a Hamas-led terror attack into southern Israel on October 7, in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took some 250 people as hostages. Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others. Since then, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and ground offensive, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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