There were no phone and internet services for more than 12 hours, amid warnings that power outages could hide human rights violations.
Gaza remains inaccessible to the outside world after phone and internet services were cut, with humanitarian and media organizations warning that the communications blackout could provide cover for atrocities in the besieged enclave.
Palestinians in Gaza were unable to communicate with people outside the Strip for a second day on Saturday after some of the heaviest bombing of the war and Hamas reports of limited ground incursions by Israeli forces overnight.
Palestinian telecommunications company Jawwal said late Friday that Israel’s bombing of the Strip had destroyed “all remaining international roads linking Gaza to the outside world.”
Nidaa Ibrahim, an Al Jazeera correspondent from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said on Saturday that there was “very little” information coming from the Gaza Strip.
Ibrahim said: “After Gaza entered into darkness with no communications, no phones, and no Internet connections, the Palestinians here outside Gaza and in other places… feel that they also do not know what is happening.”
“They can’t check on their friends and loved ones [and] Family members to check whether they are alive or not.
Amnesty International said it had lost contact with its colleagues in Gaza, and that the lack of communication makes it more difficult to document human rights violations.
“The communications blackout means it will be extremely difficult to obtain important information and evidence about human rights violations and war crimes committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and to hear directly from those suffering abuses,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, senior director of research, advocacy, policy and campaigns. According to a statement on Friday.
Deborah Brown, senior technology and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said power outages risked “providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations.”
Cindy McCain, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, said on Twitter that the WFP had “lost contact” with its teams in Gaza.
“The silence is deafening,” she wrote.
We have lost contact with our teams #Gaza.
The silence is deafening.
As the conflict intensifies, I am deeply concerned for the safety of all humanitarian workers and civilians.
We are at a turning point. Humanity must prevail.
– Cindy McCain (@WFPChief) October 28, 2023
The collapse of communications services in Gaza came at a time when Israel intensified its bombing ahead of an expected large-scale ground attack on the Strip.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said on the X website that the power outage “makes it impossible for ambulances to reach the injured.”
“We are still out of touch with our staff and health facilities. “I am concerned for their safety.”
Reports of intense bombing in Gaza are deeply disturbing.
Patients in such conditions cannot be evacuated, nor can safe shelter be found.
The power outage also makes it impossible for ambulances to reach the wounded.
We are still far from communicating with our employees.
– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) October 28, 2023
The Committee to Protect Journalists also warned that a “news blackout” could lead to “serious consequences,” including the spread of misinformation.
This cut means that casualty numbers from attacks and details of ground fighting cannot be immediately known. Only some satellite phones continued to work.
Al Jazeera correspondents in the Gaza Strip were able to provide sporadic updates via satellite, but direct communication is often disrupted due to the almost complete communications blackout in the Strip.
Al Jazeera’s Safwat Kahlot said Friday from Gaza City that the latest Israeli air strikes were much larger compared to previous attacks.
Al-Kahlot said: “Today is the worst in terms of Israeli firepower, and we can hear some explosions… coming from the sea as well, specifically in the northern Gaza Strip.”
Al Jazeera’s Tariq Abu Azoum, reporting from Khan Yunis in Gaza, said on Friday that residents were “terrified and afraid” after being left “completely isolated.”
Israel has launched countless air strikes on Gaza in response to the October 7 Hamas attacks inside the country, which Israeli officials say killed 1,405 people, most of them civilians.
At least 7,326 Palestinians, including more than 3,000 children, were killed in Israeli air attacks, according to Palestinian officials.
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