Palestinians living in Gaza and those attempting to contact people in Gaza on Friday evening said that they had lost connection with them either via telephone or the internet amid reports of heavy shelling of the narrow strip.
It heightened fears that Israel was about to launch its much-delayed ground invasion of the Gaza strip.
Human rights defenders said that a "total blackout on internet and communications in Gaza".
📢🚨Latest from #Gaza: #Humanrightsdefenders have just sent this out to journalists: "total blackout on internet and communications in Gaza now, paramedics can’t be reached or dispatched, heavy Israeli bombardment."— Rabia Mehmood - رابعہ (@Rabail26) October 27, 2023
Below is journo Belal Khaled's story a few minutes back. pic.twitter.com/gFd28fKDbN
They added that they had lost communications with paramedics trying to get to and retrieve dead and injured amidst heavy bombardment of the narrow strip by Israel.
⚠️⚠️⚠️ it appears internet and cellular networks has been completely cut off from Gaza!! This is a disastrous development— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) October 27, 2023
I've just lost contact with my family. No one is picking up. No one is answering their phones, or responding to my messages. Reports say that Gaza is under unprecedented levels of bombardment now. Pray for them. pic.twitter.com/2BizAFqikB— Jehad Abusalim جهاد أبو سليم (@JehadAbusalim) October 27, 2023
🚨🚨 Phone and internet communication has been cut off in Gaza (yes Israel controls that too). This is what we know: Fierce aerial and artillery bombardment is ongoing, most fiercely on locations in N. Gaza. Paramedics & first responders are now blind, people can't ask for help— Nour Odeh 🇵🇸🍉 #NojusticeNopeace (@nour_odeh) October 27, 2023
The outage was also confirmed by Netblocks, which tracks outage of network across the world:
⚠ Confirmed: Live network data show a collapse in connectivity in the #Gaza Strip with high impact to Paltel, amid reports of heavy bombardment; the company is the last remaining major operator to supply service as connectivity declines amid ongoing fighting with Israel 📉 pic.twitter.com/nDPf7HnjKF— NetBlocks (@netblocks) October 27, 2023
The toll from three weeks of intense bombing by Israel since the surprise October 7 attack by Hamas has already killed over 7,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank with nearly 20,000 people injured. Thousands are thought to be buried under the rubble of flattened apartment blocks across Gaza.