US Service Members Injured During Gaza Mission

( – Three U.S. service members were injured during a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

The military has clarified that the injuries were not combat related, but one of the service members had to be relocated to Israel due to the severity of the injury. The two, however, only sustained “very minor” and “routine” injuries and have since returned to duty.

The incident happened two miles off the coast of Gaza, at a staging platform where trucks loaded with aid packages were being transferred into Army water vessels from cargo ships, in a roll-on, roll-off process.

As of press time, the injured service member is still in critical condition, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) deputy commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper. He promised to give updates on the condition of the soldier as they develop.

Officials say that the incident was an accident involving a forklift.

The aid operation has been in place for several weeks, where aid trucks are loaded onto container ships in Cyprus, and are then transferred into another vessel at the staging area. From there, the trucks roll-off at a temporary pier that is anchored to a beach in Gaza.

Ten aid trucks from the operation were headed to Deir El Balah in Gaza where their cargo would be housed at a World Food Programme warehouse, but only five made it. Authorities say that the other five were “intercepted” and that some crowds managed to stop the trucks and conduct their own “self-distribution.”

The U.N. has dismissed the interception of the aid trucks, with spokesman Stephane Dujarric saying that people likely “grabbed what they could” off the trucks as some of the routes the vehicles took passed areas “where there’d been no aid.” Still, the international organization has put a temporary halt to aid distribution and transport in the area until new and safer routes for aid trucks can be determined and arranged.

Aid efforts have also been severely hampered by Israel’s continued offensive in Gaza, with a recent incursion of the Rafah region resulting in the displacement of roughly 900,000 people, according to the U.N.

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