On Wednesday, the Gaza Strip experienced a complete outage of internet and phone networks, marking the second blackout in less than a week in the besieged region, according to the Palestinian telecommunications agency.
The Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) issued a statement apologizing to the people of Gaza, stating, “To our good people in the beloved country, we are sorry to announce that communications and internet services have been completely cut off in Gaza.”
Global network monitor Netblocks also confirmed the blackout’s impact on Gaza, noting that the outage significantly affected the last remaining major operator, Paltel. In a post, Netblocks mentioned, “The incident will be experienced as a total loss of telecommunications by most residents.”
An AFP journalist located in Gaza corroborated the loss of communications and pointed out that his phone still had signal due to his use of an international SIM card. Another AFP journalist noted that only individuals with Israeli or Egyptian phone lines were able to use their mobile phones in the border town of Rafah.
Last week, both internet and phone networks were entirely disrupted, but they were subsequently restored over the weekend. During the previous outage, the government of the Palestinian militant group Hamas accused Israel of instigating the shutdown to facilitate its military operations in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian telecoms provider Jawwal attributed the blackout to Israel’s “heavy bombardment” of the territory.
Gaza has recently witnessed intense clashes between Israeli ground troops and militants as Israel pursued its mission to “crush” Hamas, following violent actions in southern communities that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people, mostly civilians. In response, Israel launched a sustained air and artillery bombardment, which the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza reports has claimed the lives of over 8,500 Palestinians, with two-thirds of the casualties being women or children.