Fierce Fighting Gets Closer To US-Built Gaza Pier Just As Initial Aid Rolls Off

While global coverage of the Gaza crisis has focused on the Israeli offensive in the southern city of Raffah of late, fierce battles have erupted in the north of the Strip over the last several days, especially in Jabalia, where the IDF military is in a fierce anti-insurgent style battle set amid narrow alleyways.

The city which lies 2.5 miles north of Gaza City saw a 'return' of Hamas fighters after the IDF months ago conquered it. It has long been deemed among the Strip's permanent refugee camps. There are reports that Israeli armor has smashed deep into the heart of the camp and city.

fierce fighting gets closer to us built gaza pier just as initial aid rolls off
American ships will be required to be very close just off Gaza's coast as fighting intensifies in both the north & south of the Strip.

Hamas also appears to have stepped-up its attacks on Israeli forces in various locations, and Al Jazeera reports at least 40 Palestinian deaths over the course of the last day.

"Tanks and planes are wiping out residential districts and markets, shops, restaurants, everything. It is all happening before the one-eyed world," a resident of Jabalia identified as Ayman Rajab told a regional outlet.

The same outlet observed that this intensifying fighting is occurring in the same northern region as the US Army-built humanitarian aid pier:

"People are terrified and they’re trying to get away," Jens Laerke, UN humanitarian office spokesperson, said in Geneva, adding that most were following orders to move north toward the coast but that there were no safe routes or destinations.

As the fighting raged, the US military said trucks started moving aid ashore from a temporary pier, the first to reach the besieged enclave by sea in weeks.

The situation is heating up even as famine is said to be present in this northern area. "To stave off the horrors of famine, we must use the fastest and most obvious route to reach the people of Gaza – and for that, we need access by land now," deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq announced in a statement, even as initial US aid deliveries via the pier get underway from nearby Cyprus.

This of course creates the potential that expanded fighting could occur close to the vicinity where American troops are overseeing pier operations just off the coast.

The Pentagon previously made it clear that if US troops come under fire, they are authorized to defend themselves and fire back. However, the IDF has also said it is providing security on land, and there are at least two Israeli bases established nearby.

Israel has said of the intense Jabalia fight:

The Israel Defense Forces said troops killed more than 60 militants in Jabalia in recent days and located a weapons warehouse in a "divisional-level offensive."

A divisional operation would typically involve several brigades of thousands of troops each, making it one of the biggest of the war. "The 7th Brigade’s fire control center directed dozens of airstrikes, eliminated terrorists and destroyed terrorist infrastructure," the IDF said.

Again, this is all potential recipe for a looming disaster which could suck the Pentagon directly into the chaos of northern Gaza fighting. Some Congressional leaders have recently sought to address this possibility in hearings:

  • shot an Israeli soldier with sniper fire east of Jabalia
  • attacked a group of 15 soldiers with anti-personnel devices and then used light weapons and hand grenades while they were inside a house in al-Tanour neighbourhood, east of Rafah
  • targeted a Merkava tank with a Yassin-105 rocket in the same neighbourhood
  • shelled Rafah crossing
  • targeted an “Apache” Israeli military helicopter with an anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile (SAM-7)
  • blew up an Israeli military bulldozer east of Rafah

There further remains the possibility that Palestinian militants could send drones against the pier, which is something both the Pentagon and IDF appear to have prepared for.

How will this all end? Things look to continue to get worse, and there's still no sign of positive momentum toward a ceasefire on the horizon.

Authored by Tyler Durden via its fighters May 18th 2024