Israel, launching a land offensive in the Gaza Strip last Friday in response to the Hamas attack, cut off the area from telephone and Internet communications. At the same time, Israeli forces launched a massive air missile attack. The BBC managed to contact people in Gaza.
Telephone and internet communications to and from the Gaza Strip have been cut off after the Israeli army expanded its ground operation on Friday, and fuel shortages are worsening the situation, the BBC reports. As Palestinian media reported on Sunday, communications are gradually returning to the Gaza Strip.
Completely cut off from the outside world, Palestinians lived under the horror of constant rocket attacks, and the Israeli army on Saturday renewed calls for the evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip ahead of an upcoming Israeli operation. The Israeli Air Force carried out massive airstrikes on Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoon and Zeitoun, and medical and civil defense personnel emphasized that the communication blockade made escape difficult, Al Jazeera reported.
Aid agencies say Gaza’s 2.3 million people face a humanitarian catastrophe.
“We didn’t expect to live to see the morning”
The BBC website describes the accounts of residents of the Gaza Strip, cut off from the world. – The situation is very dangerous – said one of the journalists in the city of Deir al-Balah in a voice message. He added that due to the information blockade, many people did not know what happened to their loved ones overnight. Halfway through the recording, a loud explosion can be heard in the background, writes the BBC.
This is one of the few glimpses into what was happening in the Gaza Strip that day and how civilians dealt with the intensifying air attacks and the expanding ground operation of the Israeli army. Internet monitoring group NetBlocks said there was a “connectivity breakdown” in the enclave. The lack of electricity left people unable to contact their friends and family or call an ambulance for the injured.
Contact with the outside world was only possible for a few owners of foreign SIM cards, which were used to receive signals from masts in Israel and Egypt. The BBC managed to make limited contact with a few of them.
This includes a journalist from Deir al-Balah, who described the atmosphere in the city as tense and full of disorientation. – Some people believe that nothing is happening because they are not receiving new information through messages. They feel some comfort, he said. – Others are very upset because they have lost contact with all their loved ones – he added.
In Gaza City, the BBC managed to speak to another journalist. During a brief telephone conversation, the man, who asked not to be named, described the nightly Israeli attacks as “brutal.” “We didn’t expect to live to see the morning,” he said, adding that heavy bombing hit “streets, government buildings, open fields and the beach.”
Gaza-based photographer Shebab Younis described the situation around him as “catastrophic” in a voicemail. – We have lost contact with people who were injured as a result of the attacks – he wrote. – When houses are bombed, the situation becomes very difficult indeed due to the lack of communication and internet services. All this has a negative impact on the operation of a large number of medical facilities and public buildings, he added.
“Jamming enemy communications is standard behavior.”
Asked about Israel blocking communications in the Gaza Strip, Mark Regev, a senior adviser to the Israeli government, told the BBC on Saturday that “jamming enemy communications is standard behavior,” comparing it to what he believed the UK and US had done in previous conflicts.
Earlier, a few days after the Hamas attack, Israel imposed a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. He cut off the area from food, electricity and fuel supplies. Energy Minister Israel Katz issued a decision to cut off water supplies.
The United Nations said the power outage put civilians “in grave danger.”
– Ambulances and civil defense teams are no longer able to locate the injured or the thousands of people who are estimated to still be under the rubble, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk. – Civilians can no longer receive up-to-date information on where they can get humanitarian aid and where they may be in less danger. Many journalists can no longer report on the situation, he added.
Israel drops leaflets over the Gaza Strip
The Israeli Air Force dropped leaflets over the Gaza Strip calling on Hamas fighters to surrender to the authorities, said Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel, in a post on the X platform (formerly Twitter). The leaflets instruct Hamas members who wish to surrender to remove all military equipment, raise their hands and, if possible, wave a white cloth.
At least 8,005 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have been killed since the beginning of the war with Israel, including 3,342 children, the health ministry reported on Sunday in the territory controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization. Over 20,200 people were injured during the three-week shelling. people – added in the ministry’s announcement, the content of which was quoted by the Qatari Al-Jazeera television.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER