(CTN News) – With phone and internet connections blocked, different media and humanitarian organizations have warned that the communications blackout could expose the confined Gaza Strip to Israeli war crimes.
Israel’s indiscriminate bombing has destroyed “all remaining international routes connecting Gaza to the outside world,” according to the Palestinian telecom provider Jawwal.
After being exposed to some of the harshest Israeli bombardment, the Gaza Strip has been cut off from the rest of the world for two days, despite Hamas reports of a few modest ground incursions throughout the night.
Nida Ibrahim, reporting for Al Jazeera from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said on Saturday that information coming out of Gaza was “very, very minimal.”
“After Gaza went into darkness with no communications, no phones, no internet connections, Palestinians here outside of Gaza and elsewhere … feel that they are also being kept in the dark about what’s going on,” Ibrahim went on to say.
“They can’t check on their friends, on their loved ones [and] family members to check if they’re alive or not.”Amnesty International reported that it had lost contact with its colleagues in Gaza and that the loss of communication was making it increasingly difficult to monitor rights violations.
“This communications blackout means that it will be even more difficult to obtain critical information and evidence about human rights violations and war crimes being committed against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as well as to hear directly from those experiencing the violations,” Erika Guevara Rosas, senior director of research, advocacy, policy, and campaigns, said in a statement on Friday.
The blackout risks “providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations,” according to Deborah Brown, senior technology and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Cindy McCain, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, stated on Twitter, now X, that the WFP has “lost contact” with its personnel in Gaza.
“The silence is deafening,” she said.
Before launching a full-fledged ground assault on the enclave, Israel upped its bombing of Gaza, causing communications services to fail.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, claimed on X that the darkness is “making it impossible for ambulances to reach the injured.”
“We are still unable to communicate with our employees or healthcare facilities.” “I’m concerned about their safety,” he explained. Furthermore, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a warning, claiming that the “news blackout” might have “serious consequences,” including the spread of false information.
The exact number of casualties from attacks and the circumstances of ground warfare may not be known immediately due to the cutoff. Only a few satellite phones remained active.
Although there have been some satellite updates from Al Jazeera correspondents in Gaza, direct connectivity is usually hampered by the enclave’s nearly full communications blackout.
According to Al Jazeera’s Safwat Kahlout, who reported from Gaza City on Friday, the most recent Israeli air raids were substantially more intense than previous ones.
“Today is the worst in terms of the strength of the Israeli fire, and we can hear some explosions … coming from the sea as well, specifically in the north of the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Tareq Abu Azzoum of Al Jazeera reported from Khan Younis in Gaza on Friday that the inhabitants there were “totally isolated” and “terrified and afraid.”
Israel claimed 1,405 civilians were killed in airstrikes on Gaza in response to Hamas’s October 7 attacks within the country. Israeli airstrikes, according to Palestinian sources, have killed at least 7,703 Palestinians, including 3,595 children.
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