Pentagon rebuts claims Israel used US pier for hostage rescue mission

The Pentagon on Monday pushed back on what it said were “inaccurate” reports on social media that Israel used the U.S.-built pier off Gaza during a deadly hostage rescue mission over the weekend.

U.S. officials have said American intelligence was used to help rescue the four hostages in an Israeli military operation that Gaza’s health ministry says killed 274 Palestinians.

But Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters the pier was not used for the special operation to rescue hostages kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7, seeking to dispel “some of the inaccurate social media allegations” about the raid.

“The pier facility, including its equipment, personnel and assets, were not used in the [Israeli military’s] operation to rescue hostages in Gaza,” Ryder said. “Any such claim to the contrary is false.”

Ryder acknowledged “there was some type of helicopter activity” near the pier, but he referred further questions to the Israeli military as to the nature of their operation because it was “not associated” with the U.S.-pier operation.

Ryder said he would not “get into specifics on details in terms of what intelligence support may or may not have looked like,” and he stressed there was no U.S. military involvement in the rescue operation, nor were there any American troops on the ground.

Ryder also said he did not believe misperceptions about the use of the pier puts U.S. forces at greater risk in the region.

The U.S. military has been working since March to build and sustain a floating pier off the coast of Gaza for aid deliveries during the war between Israel and Hamas that has tipped the enclave and its 2.3 million Palestinian inhabitants into famine.

The pier became active May 17, but aid deliveries had to be suspended May 28 for more than 10 days when a piece broke off due to rough seas.

The piece was repaired, and the pier was reanchored by the U.S. military on June 7, but further bad sea conditions stopped assistance once again.

Ryder said deliveries are now expected to resume Tuesday, even as the United Nations said it must review security of the situation before aid deliveries from the dock can begin again.

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