U.S. military estimates Gaza aid pier will cost taxpayers $320 million

'The cost has not just risen. It has exploded. This dangerous effort with marginal benefit will now cost the American taxpayers at least $320 million to operate the pier for only 90 days.'

U.S. military estimates Gaza aid pier will cost taxpayers $320 million
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The U.S. military has reportedly revised its estimate for the construction of a pier designed to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, with the latest figures suggesting that American taxpayers will be burdened with a $320 million bill.

According to a U.S. defense official and a source familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters, Defense Department officials recently increased the projected cost of the pier, which is now double the estimate calculated earlier this year.

Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed his concern over the escalating costs, stating, "The cost has not just risen. It has exploded. This dangerous effort with marginal benefit will now cost the American taxpayers at least $320 million to operate the pier for only 90 days."

The pier, set to go into full service in May, has already faced security challenges. Last week, Hamas fighters in Gaza reportedly fired mortars at Israeli forces near the "marshaling area" of the pier. While Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated that the pier under construction is "nowhere near mortar range," the attack has raised concerns about the risk to U.S. troops involved in the operation and the possibility of a U.S. response if American personnel were to be caught in a Hamas attack.

Sen. Wicker criticized the mission, stating, "This has been an ill-conceived mission from the start. Every day when these ships have been in transit was another day terrorists in Gaza have been preparing to thwart their arrival. In any case, the risk to Americans will only intensify. President Biden should never have put our men and women in this position, and he should abandon this project immediately before any U.S. troops are injured."

In March, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would construct the pier off the coast of the Gaza Strip in the Mediterranean Sea to facilitate the importation of aid to Palestinians. The Biden administration has made Palestinian aid a priority in its approach to Israel's war against Hamas, an Iranian-linked terror group that ruled Gaza prior to the war.

The administration has used the aid issue to increase pressure on Israel as it prepares to assault Rafah, Hamas' last stronghold in Gaza, leveraging U.S. support for Israel's war effort in exchange for more humanitarian aid to Gazans.

Critics argue that the Biden administration's push for aid to Gaza, whether through the pier or through its pressure on Israel, has prolonged the war effort and empowered Hamas.

House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, in a March statement slamming the proposed pier, said, "The House Oversight Committee has been sounding the alarm about U.S. aid to Gaza falling into the hands of terror groups, but it is falling on deaf ears with President Biden and his administration."

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