Smoke is seen over Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip as result of an Israeli attack on October 27, 2023. Credit - Amir Levy—Getty Images
Palestinians are experiencing a total communication blackout in Gaza, according to civil society groups and journalists on the ground. Israel's military said Friday that it was "expanding" its ground operations in Gaza.
In a recent news report, an Al Jazeera English correspondent expressed fear over the blackout, which has affected internet, cellular and landline services:
“Please guys if you can hear us send the message to the world we are isolated now in Gaza. Again guys if you can hear us ... we are isolated in the territory. We don't have any phone signals. We don’t have any internet connections...We just only hear bombardment. We don’t have any kind of access of communication to anyone. Everyone now is really terrified and afraid. Journalists here and even the civilians here who are inside the hospital they don’t have any access to the networks."
Our correspondent in his last report as Israel imposed total blackout. "Please guys if you can hear us send the message to the world we are isolated now in Gaza. Again guys if you can hear us ... we are isolated we don't have phone signals or tech connections.." pic.twitter.com/Oo1cfTLuj2
— Gabriel Elizondo (@elizondogabriel) October 27, 2023
Before the blackout, the channel was showing intense bombing in northern Gaza.
The Palestine Red Crescent, which provides emergency medical services, said in a statement Friday that they “completely lost contact with the operations room” in the Gaza Strip “due to the Israeli authorities cutting off all landline, cellular and internet communications.”
The Red Crescent is particularly concerned about the inability to provide emergency medical services because they can no longer receive emergency calls alerting them of crises. This “hinders the arrival of ambulance vehicles to the wounded and injured,” they said.
The U.K. based Medical Aid for Palestinians also tweeted that telephone and internet communications with Gaza appear to be shut or and they cannot reach their colleagues.
And the Washington Post is reporting that it cannot reach colleagues in Gaza.
Israeli attacks have killed more than 6,850 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which operates out of the West Bank. Hospitals are on the verge of losing fuel needed to keep many patients alive. The World Health Organization reported earlier this week that more than one-third of the city's hospitals are no longer operating.
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Dr. Omar Abdel-Mannan, a British-Egyptian senior pediatric neurology resident in London who has been in touch with Palestinian doctors in Gaza, says he is particularly concerned about threats to the city's biggest hospital. (Israel has claimed Hamas is operating in that territory.)
"We fear this is the pretense for an immediate ground invasion, which will result in mass casualties on a scale we haven't witnessed yet," Abdel-Mannan said.
Write to Sanya Mansoor at firstname.lastname@example.org.