Joe Biden confirms plans to build temporary port on Gaza coast but insists there will be 'no US boots on the ground'

The US military will establish a temporary port on the Gaza coast to increase the flow of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered territory, Joe Biden has said.

In his State of the Union address, the US president said the "temporary pier" will be able to "receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters".

And he insisted "no US boots will be on the ground".

"This temporary pier would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day," he said.

"But Israel must also do its part.

"Israel must allow more aid into Gaza and ensure that humanitarian workers aren't caught in the cross fire."

An Israeli government spokesperson told Sky's The World with Yalda Hakim they welcomed their "allies' support in getting more aid to the people that need it" and insisted there were "no limits on the amount of aid that can go into Gaza".

Israel-Hamas war latest: Warnings of imminent famine in Gaza

The port is expected to take a number of weeks to plan and execute.

Read more:
US to build Gaza port as Palestinians starve - war latest

Is famine about to be declared in Gaza?

Shipments will come via Cyprus enabled by the US military and a coalition of partners and allies, US officials told Sky News' partner network NBC News.

Earlier this week, EU officials were in Cyprus to discuss the establishment of a maritime aid corridor with a platform at Larnaca on the island.

Avi Hyman, a spokesman for the Israeli government, told Sky's Yalda Hakim that "the problem isn't getting aid into Gaza, it's the distribution of aid once it's in Gaza".

He claimed that this week a record 277 trucks went through into the Palestinian territory in one day and "we're doing our utmost to get the supplies in", but Hamas was "doing their utmost to steal them".

The UK's Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has called for 500 aid trucks a day to prevent famine in Gaza.

Mr Hyman said there was a "humanitarian crisis of sorts" in the territory and "we're getting better at distribution", adding if Israel's allies bring the aid "we will ship it in".

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after Hamas attacked the country on 7 October, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting around 250.

More than 100 hostages were released in November in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The number of Palestinians killed has reached more than 30,700, according to the Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza.

The territory is facing a worsening humanitarian catastrophe, with aid groups warning that it has become nearly impossible to deliver supplies within most of Gaza.

Analysis from the US:
The desperate decision Biden hoped to avoid

Many Palestinians, especially in the devastated north, are scrambling for food to survive.

Sir Mark Lowcock, former head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has told Sky News that without far more aid, there will be an "explosion" in the number of people dying.

"The death toll from starvation and related diseases is going to be larger than the 30,000 people who are estimated to have been killed already by the bombs and the bullets," he said.