The jetty being constructed by the United States off the coast of Gaza to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid is “over 50 per cent complete”, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said on Wednesday night.

She explained that the floating pier has now been “completely constructed and set up”, and that now construction of the causeway, which will connect it to land, is “in progress”.

With the jetty now nearing completion, she said it will be utilised for humanitarian aid deliveries from early May.

The latest humanitarian aid shipment from Cyprus to Gaza, aboard the ship the Jennifer, landed at the Israeli port of Ashdod on Sunday.

President Nikos Christodoulides had hailed a “mission resumed” in Cyprus humanitarian aid corridor to Gaza, known as the Amalthea plan, on Saturday after the ship had set sail.

Then, on Tuesday, he had said the next shipment of humanitarian aid from Cyprus is ready to depart “as soon as the US give us the green light”.

He had said the jetty would be complete by Thursday, but Singh’s statement on Wednesday night suggests its completion has been somewhat delayed.

News website Reuters reported on Monday that the jetty had cost a total of $320 million (€298m) to construct, and that around 1,000 US servicepeople had been involved in its construction, most of whom are from the US Army and the US Navy.

That cost is around double that of original estimates, according to US Senator Roger Wicker.

Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, said “this dangerous effort with marginal benefits will now cost the American taxpayer at least $320m to operate the pier for only 90 days.”

“For every day this mission continues, the price tag goes up and so does the level of risk for the 1,000 deployed troops within range of Hamas’ rockets,” he said.

The jetty’s potential placement has also been a cause for concern among some quarters, with British newspaper The Guardian having reported on Wednesday that the jetty’s placement may be too far south to help alleviate the “very high” risk of famine in the northern part of Gaza.

The north of Gaza, including Gaza City, has been effectively cut off from the rest of the strip by a military road constructed by the Israeli Defence Force which connects Israel with Gaza’s coast, known as the Netzarim corridor.

As such, if the jetty is placed south of the Netzarim corridor, any aid sent towards Gaza City and the rest of the north of the strip will still have to pass through an IDF checkpoint. This would arguably defeat the point of shipping the aid directly to Gaza.