British troops delivering aid in Gaza 'an option', according to Whitehall sources

British troops on the ground delivering aid to Gaza is "an option" but there has been no approval for the move, a Whitehall source has told Sky News.

The British military is already helping with the construction of the offshore pier, alongside US colleagues, which is designed to increase the amount of aid getting into Gaza via sea routes.

Whitehall sources added that no decision had been made on the use of British troops and there was still "plenty to work out".

The Israeli offensive in the territory has killed over 34,000 Palestinians, displaced about 80% of the population and pushed hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of famine.

A Royal Navy ship, the RFA Cardigan Bay, is sailing from Cyprus to provide accommodation to hundreds of US soldiers and sailors working on the offshore pier project, the Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.

British military planners are also embedded at US Central Command in Florida and in Cyprus, where aid will be screened before it is shipped to Gaza.

"It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza, and the UK continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support in coordination with the US and our international allies and partners," said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in a statement on Friday.

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When US President Joe Biden announced the pier would be built during his State of the Union address, he insisted "no US boots will be on the ground". Instead, aid would be loaded from the offshore pier onto trucks that could carry the aid into Gaza.

Once in place, the system has the potential to deliver as many as two million meals to Palestinian civilians every day, NBC News reported the Pentagon as saying.

The 'multinational maritime corridor initiative' will see aid delivered via the pier and through Ashdod Port which Israel says it will open, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The developments come as Israel faces widespread criticism over the amount of aid being delivered into the Palestinian territory. The United Nations says at least a quarter of the population there sits on the brink of starvation.