Conflicts & War

Gaza faces longest communication blackout since start of conflict

Jerusalem, Jan 19 (EFE).- The Gaza Strip is experiencing its longest telecommunication blackout since the conflict began on Oct. 7, significantly affecting humanitarian and emergency services in the war-torn Palestinian enclave.

The near-total telephone and internet blackout entered its eighth day on Friday, rendering almost all internal and external communications in the Strip impossible.

“Amid the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza, telecommunication and internet services in the region have been completely broken for eight days now, marking the longest disruption since the start of the aggression on October 7th,” the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

According to the NetBlocks website, which monitors global communication networks, the “disruption is the ninth and longest sustained telecoms outage” since the onset of the conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

On Jan. 12, the two main Palestinian telecommunication companies, PalTel and Ooredoo Palestine, announced a complete cessation of communication and internet services in Gaza due to the intensity of the long-running Israeli operation.

“The main feed lines for telecommunication and internet companies have been damaged, resulting in a complete halt of our services in the south and central Gaza Strip,” said Ooredoo, whose services remain partially available in the north.

Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Ihab Sbeih clarified that communications have been “completely severed” in Gaza, both in the central and southern regions.

Sbeih added that the telecom technical employees have been unable to access areas for repair work due to the extensive destruction of roads, a problem exacerbated by a shortage of spare parts.

He said that the communication sector has been continuously targeted by the Israeli forces, with the extent of damage inflicted exceeding 80 percent.

“The technical crews have also been directly targeted despite prior coordination through international institutions,” he added.

Last week, two technicians lost their lives while repairing the communication network in Khan Yunis after their vehicle was hit by a rocket fired by Israeli forces.

The communications blackout has also affected the operation of humanitarian organizations in Gaza, which has been grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis in recent months.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that the blackout disrupted its communication with field teams and employees working to deliver humanitarian services in Gaza.

Moreover, the disruption has also affected healthcare teams, particularly in providing timely ambulance services to victims of the conflict. EFE


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