Gaza-based terrorist group threatens British forces if they begin to deliver aid from offshore pier

CENTCOM: Construction of the floating JLOTS pier in the Mediterranean.

The Popular Resistance Committees warned via its official Telegram channel on April 28 that if British forces operate on a U.S.-made pier off the Gaza coast, they will become legitimate targets for attack. The warning followed reports that the U.K. government is considering tasking British troops with delivering aid from the offshore platform to Gaza.

“We warn Britain or any other country against deploying any forces on the land or coast of the Gaza Strip and affirm that they will be legitimate targets for our people and their resistance,” said the Popular Resistance Committees. 

On April 29, U.S. Central Command posted on X that it is in the process of constructing a floating pier near the Gaza coast to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to the war-ridden enclave. Separately, the IDF announced on April 27 that it would soon receive a floating pier built by the United States off the Gaza coast to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid. 

The offshore pier is expected to be ready “within days.” However, according to an Associated Press report, the port that will receive the aid — built near Gaza City — has come under mortar fire, though Palestinian armed groups have not claimed responsibility for the attack.

The establishment of an offshore pier and the port poses a significant security risk for IDF troops and personnel from foreign nations. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups still have the capability to fire rockets, mortars, and possibly drones despite the Israeli military severely degrading the groups’ military infrastructure. 

Moreover, it is improbable that the Popular Resistance Committees would have made such a threat without receiving prior approval from Hamas. As with other Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees operates under Hamas’ sphere of influence. Therefore, this threat should be perceived as a warning from both Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees. 

Even if Hamas explicitly directed its allies to refrain from targeting the pier or the port, there are Salafi-jihadist groups that operate independently and may view British personnel or any other Western entity as viable targets.

The floating pier supplements what is already underway — robust land delivery and air drops of aid to the Gaza Strip. While it is a worthy cause, the venture may carry more risk than reward. There are more than a dozen armed terrorist groups in Gaza, and the opportunity to attack U.S., British, and Israeli personnel working on the pier or the port could well amount to an unnecessary and dangerous risk not matter how well intentioned.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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