Gaza: Communications cut as Israel unleashes 'unprecedented' bombing campaign

Gaza: Communications cut as Israel unleashes 'unprecedented' bombing campaign
20 min read
Israeli forces say that ground forces are set to expand operations in Gaza- as Internet and phone network have been cut across the besieged enclave

Israeli air and ground forces are stepping up operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel's chief military spokesperson said on Friday, amid reports of heavy bombing of the besieged enclave, where internet and mobile phone services are cut off.

Israeli forces have massed outside Gaza, where Israel has been conducting an intense campaign of aerial bombardment since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

As intense Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory ensues, Internet access and the phone network have been completely cut across the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Global internet monitor NetBlocks reported "a collapse in connectivity in the Gaza Strip with high impact to Paltel," Jawwal's owner, citing live network data.

The Palestinian death toll in the territory has since soared past 7,300 as Israel has carried out waves of indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas.

Featured images: Getty

1:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

TNA’s live coverage of the latest from the war on Gaza concludes for today. Join us again tomorrow at 0800 GMT for updates from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

1:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza communications blackout 'risks providing cover for mass atrocities': HRW

The near-total telecommunications blackout in Gaza risks providing cover for "mass atrocities", the non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch said on Friday, as Israel relentlessly bombards the Palestinian territory.

"This information blackout risks providing cover for mass atrocities and contributing to impunity for human rights violations," the group's senior technology and human rights researcher, Deborah Brown, said in a statement.


1:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

New York protesters take over Grand Central station to call for ceasefire

Pro-Palestine supporters are protesting at New York City's famous Grand Central Station to urge for an immediate ceasefire, amid Israel's ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Rights groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace have attended the demonstration and called to end the invasion of Gaza.

“We’re refusing to allow a genocide be carried out in our names,” JVP wrote on X.

Transport authorities have stated that since the protest, only ticketed passengers would be permitted into the station. 

12:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas says there are "no talks" happening with Israel 

A Hamas spokesman claims that there have not been any negotiations taking place with Israel to discuss a potential ceasefire and prisoner exchange. 

"“There [were] talks and there [were] political efforts to achieve such an arrangement”, Osman Hamdan told Al Jazeera.

However, Hamdan stated that there have been “no talks” since Israel's bombardment of Gaza ensues.

Hamdan added that Israeli forces are “moving towards the borders of Gaza from different points”.

“It’s clear that they know they have lost … the narrative issue, so they want to cut Gaza from the world in order to commit their crimes in deep silence,” he said.

“It’s clear they’ve started that [ground invasion], but they’re worried about the consequences, they are worried about what might happen on the ground and they are facing a very strong resistance.”

11:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ilhan Omar warns of a potential ground war in Gaza

US congresswoman Ilhan Omar has released a statement via X to warn of  ‘disastrous consequences’ of a ground invasion in Gaza- which may involve the US into a wider regional conflict.

"A ground invasion would make an untenable humanitarian disaster even worse,” Omar said in a statement.

“It would not only put the lives of more and more Palestinian civilians at risk, but also Israelis, the hundreds of hostages held by Hamas, and the hundreds of Americans trapped in Gaza.”

11:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

US embassy in Lebanon tells American citizens to leave country

As Israel's ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, has led to growing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon, concerns have risen about a potential war on the rise.

The US embassy in Lebanon has issued a statement to urge its citizens to 'leave now', while options to book flights are currently available.

“The State Department recommends that US citizens in Lebanon leave now, while commercial flights remain available, due to the unpredictable security situation,” the embassy said in a statement.

“You should have a plan of action for crisis situations that does not rely on US government assistance. The best time to leave a country is before a crisis if at all possible.”

10:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Pro-Palestine rallies taking place across the Arab world

Pro Palestine protects have kicked off in the MENA region, which includes countries as Jordan and Turkey. 

Amid Israel's ongoing aggression against Gaza and a communications blackout, protestors across the region have taken to the streets to campaign against the bombardment of the Palestinian enclave.

Videos featuring protests kicking off in various countries have surfaced on X, such as protesters rallying outside the Israeli embassy in Amman.

In Istanbul, demonstrators have broken into a Starbucks branch store in retaliation to the coffee chain taking legal action against its union for having a pro-Palestine stance in the US.

Meanwhile in the West Bank city of Nabulus, Israeli drones were filmed throwing tear gas bombs to disperse a protest, where demonstrators marching down streets in solidarity with Gaza, Quds News Network reports.

10:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Iraq blames technical glitch for its UN abstention 

More on Iraq's abstention from the Jordanian UN Resolution calling for a humanitarian truce.

Iraq has now said it voted in favour of the resolution and blamed a technical fault. 

There is still no word from Tunisia, which also abstained.

10:34 PM
The New Arab

UNICEF alarmed by Gaza communications cut

There is deep concern about a cut in communications in Gaza amid some of the heaviest bombing of the enclave since fighting broke out nearly three weeks ago.

The Executive Director of UNICEF Catherine Russell raised the alarm about the fate of her staff in Gaza:

10:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas and Palestinian Authority approve UN resolution

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and the Palestinian Authority both welcomed a UN General Assembly resolution Friday calling for a humanitarian truce in Gaza.

A total of 120 countries backed the Jordanian resolution, including almost all Arab states, except Tunisia and Iraq who abstained. The US, Israel, and Hungary opposed it.

"We demand its immediate application to allow the entry of fuel and humanitarian aid for civilians," said a Hamas statement.

The rival Palestinian Authority's foreign ministry said that as Israel's campaign "reaches a new peak of brutality", there was "a solid international position rejecting Israel's unhinged aggression".

10:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Iraq and Tunisia abstain from UN truce resolution

Two surprise countries that abstained from the UN truce resolution were Tunisia and Iraq. 

Both countries joined Israel allies such as Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands in not backing the Jordanian resolution. 

The Iraqi government's ally, Iran, backed the vote, as did the 'Abraham Accords' countries the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

The US, Czechia, Austria and Israel voted against the truce.

9:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas armed wing says fighting Israeli forces inside Gaza

After Israel announced a step-up in ground operations inside Gaza, Hamas's armed wing, has said it has engaged in fighting with Israeli forces in two areas.

"We are confronting an Israeli ground incursion in Beit Hanoun (in the northern Gaza Strip) and in east Bureij (in the centre) and violent engagements are taking place on the ground," the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said.


9:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan FM warns Israel Gaza invasion would spell 'catastrophe for years'

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has warned on Friday that an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip would spell "catastrophe" for the Palestinian territory for years to come.

The "outcome will be a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions for years to come", Safadi said on X, formerly Twitter, from New York where he was attending a meeting of the UN General Assembly.


9:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN General Assembly approves for Jordanian resolution to call for ‘humanitarian truce' in Gaza 

The UN General Assembly on Friday has been called by a large majority for an "immediate humanitarian truce" in Gaza, as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on.

The Jordanian resolution, which calls for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza, has been adopted by the General Assembly, with 120 votes in favour, 14 against and 45 abstentions.

However, Canadian's attempt to make amendments to recognise Hamas's October 7 attacks failed to get enough votes- with  85 for, 55 against, with 23 abstentions.

8:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Scotland's First Minister reacts to Israel's ground invasion of Gaza

Humza Yousaf, Scotland's First Minister, has reacted to Israel's announcement of a ground invasion in the besieged Gaza Strip, amid a communications blackout across the territory.

In a post on X, he wrote, "Gaza is under intense bombing. Telecommunications have been cut. We can't get through to our family who have been trapped in this war zone for almost 3 weeks.

"We can only pray they survive the night. How many more children have to die before the world says enough?"

Yousaf has previously announced that his mother-in-law, Elizabeth El-Nakla, and her husband have been stuck in Gaza since the conflict began on October 7.

8:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

PRCS says it has 'completely lost contact' in Gaza amid communications blackout

Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has announced in a post on X that the organisation has 'completely lost contact' with operations room in Gaza amid Israel's intense bombardment and a communications blackout across the besieged territory.

The aid group wrote, "We have completely lost contact with the operations room in Gaza Strip and all our teams operating there due to the Israeli authorities cutting off all landline, cellular and internet communications."

The post continued, "We are also worried about the safety of our teams working in Gaza Strip as the continuous and intense Israeli airstrikes around the clock indicate that the Israeli authorities will continue to commit war crimes while isolating Gaza from the outside world."

7:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel forces says extending 'ground operations' into Gaza

Israeli forces said it will extend "ground operations" in the Gaza Strip on Friday night after significantly intensifying its air strikes on the Palestinian territory.

"Following the series of strikes of the last days, the ground forces are extending the ground operation tonight," military spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.

The announcement followed two straight nights of tank incursions into Gaza.


6:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN chief says Gaza faces 'avalanche of human suffering'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that Gaza faces "an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering" due to lack of food, water and power during Israeli bombing in response to the Hamas attack.

"I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of life-saving supplies," The United Nations chief said in a statement.

"Misery is growing by the minute. Without a fundamental change, the people of Gaza will face an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering."

Live Story
6:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza authorities say internet, communications cut across strip

Gaza authorities say Israel "cut communications and most of the internet" across the besieged strip on Friday.

The media office of the enclave's government accuses Israel of taking the measure "to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea", as heavy strikes hit northern Gaza.

5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Nearly 29,000 Lebanese flee homes near Israel border: UN

Nearly 29,000 Lebanese civilians have fled communities near the border with Israel because of deadly artillery exchanges between Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters and the Israeli army, the International Organization for Migration has said.

A total of 28,965 Lebanese have fled their homes, according to the IOM, which added that the figure had risen by 37 percent since its last report on Tuesday.

5:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

Collapse in Gaza connectivity: watchdog

An internet watchdog says there has been a "collapse in connectivity" in Gaza, citing live network data.

NetBlocks reports a "high impact" to Paltel, adding: "The company is the last remaining major operator to supply service as connectivity declines amid ongoing fighting with Israel."

British news website The Independent's chief international correspondent Bel Trew says she "cannot reach anyone in Gaza right now - nothing is getting through".

She adds: "I understand network is out across the strop. Reports of very heavy bombardment particularly in the north. Comes amid continued talk of a possible ground invasion."

A message The New Arab sent to its correspondent in Gaza did not go through.

5:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza facing most violent bombardment since outbreak of war by land, sea, air


Gaza is facing the most violent bombardment since outbreak of war by land sea and air, Al Jazeera TV reports.

Israel has been carrying out a deadly campaign of strikes against the Palestinian enclave for three weeks.

5:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US says 'perilous moment' reached in Israel-Hamas war

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield says that the world has reached a "perilous moment" in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

She also stressed: "The United States has made clear, in both public and private conversations, that as Israel exercises its right... to defend its people against a terrorist group, it must do so in line with the rules of war."


4:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar calls for ceasefire

The leader of the Scottish Labour party calls for a "ceasefire right now".

Anas Sarwar posts a video to social media platform X saying his "heart goes out in particular to our Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities who'll be feeling so much hurt and pain right now".

Sarwar adds: "We need to see the immediate release of hostages; immediate access to humanitarian supplies, food, medicine, electricity, water into Gaza; the immediate cessation of violence with an end to rocket fire into and out of Gaza.

"And let me be clear, that means a ceasefire right now."

4:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

London hate crimes rise again in wake of Gaza war

Antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents have almost doubled in just over a week in London, police data showed on Friday.

There have been growing tensions in Britain and elsewhere following Hamas's surprise 7 October attack on Israel and the launch of the devastating Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza.

Commander Kyle Gordon said there had been 408 antisemitic incidents recorded in the British capital so far this month compared to 28 in the same period last year, while there had been 174 Islamophobic offences compared to 65.

In both cases the numbers were almost twice as high as those given a week ago.

"My colleagues continue to ruthlessly deal with any acts of hate crime that they encounter," Kyle told reporters, adding that 75 arrests have been made linked to the current conflict since it broke out.


3:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel claims Hamas has base under Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital

The Israeli army claims Hamas has its primary operations base under the important al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari alleges that orders are given and rocket launches are coordinated from the site, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

Hagari claims patients and staff at the hospital "form a 'human shield'".

But Hamas denies using the hospital as a base, Al Jazeera TV reports.

3:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies
Macron calls for 'humanitarian truce' in Hamas-Israel conflict

French President Emmanuel Macron called Friday for a "humanitarian truce" in the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel to ensure the protection of civilians in Gaza.

"A humanitarian truce is useful today to be able to protect those who are on the ground, who have suffered bombings," Macron said.

The French leader said he recognised Israel's "right and legitimate wish to fight against terrorism," adding that France was "ready to provide our assistance."

But, Macron pointed to "the complete blockade, the indiscriminate bombardment and even more the prospect of a massive ground operation" as risks for civilians.

He also said Israel had to "better target... terrorists."

"It is essential that the distinction is made from the start, very clearly, with civilian populations," he said.


2:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU Council agrees to Spain's Gaza peace conference proposal

The Council of the European Union has accepted the Spanish proposal to hold a peace conference in about six months on the Gaza war, Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Friday.

Madrid holds the EU Council's rotating presidency until the end of this year.

Live Story
2:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Red Cross says its first team of medics enter Gaza during war

Medics from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) entered Gaza on Friday for the first time since the outbreak of war on 7 October, a spokeswoman for the organisation tells AFP.

Six medical staff crossed through Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt, alongside four other ICRC specialists and six aid trucks.

1:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Satellite images: Devastated north Gaza looks like wasteland from space


The destruction of areas of northern Gaza is visible from space in satellite images taken before and after Israeli airstrikes.

Live Story
12:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza death toll passes 7,300, including 104 medical staff

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 7,326, including 104 medical staff.

Israel has been relentlessly bombing the besieged enclave with air and artillery strikes in a campaign that has devastated the strip.

11:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Kremlin defends decision to invite Hamas delegation to Russia

Russia believes it is necessary to maintain contacts with all sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Kremlin says, defending a decision to invite a Hamas delegation to Moscow which has prompted Israeli anger.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the delegation had met with representatives of Russia's foreign ministry but had had no contacts with the Kremlin.

Israel urged Russia on Thursday to expel the visiting Hamas delegation, calling their invitation to Moscow "deplorable".

11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN says Gaza health ministry tolls in earlier conflicts 'credible'

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees says the death toll given by the health ministry in Gaza had proved to be "credible" in previous conflicts after Washington raised doubts about figures from the current war.

"In the past, the five, six cycles of conflict in the Gaza Strip, these figures were considered as credible and no-one ever really challenged these figures," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini tells reporters in Jerusalem.

Israel has struck back with a relentless bombing campaign which Gaza's health ministry says has killed 7,028 people, mostly civilians, among them 2,913 children.

Lazzarini says 57 UNRWA staff had been killed since the conflict began, explaining how the agency's toll reflected the broader casualty rate in Gaza.

He suggests the ratio of UNRWA staff killed to the total number of agency workers was in line with the ratio of Gazans killed to the territory's overall population, as provided by the health ministry.

"We have more or less the same percentage," he says.

His comments come after US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had "no confidence" in the figures provided by Gaza's health ministry.

"I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I'm sure innocents have been killed, and it's the price of waging a war," he told a White House press conference.

Philippe Lazzarini is the head of UNRWA [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu/Getty]
10:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US expands its effort to cut off funding for Hamas

The United States expands its effort to cut off funding for Hamas, announcing a second round of sanctions against people and organisations linked to the group since it launched its 7 October surprise attack on Israel.

The new sanctions highlight Iran's role in providing financial, logistical and operational support to Hamas, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control says in a statement. They include a Hamas representative in Iran and members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The sanctions were announced as Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo travelled to London to shore up support from Britain, one of America's closest allies, for the drive to squeeze off funding for Hamas, which both countries consider a terrorist organisation.

"Today's action underscores the United States' commitment to dismantling Hamas's funding networks by deploying our counterterrorism sanctions authorities and working with our global partners to deny Hamas the ability to exploit the international financial system," Adeyemo said.

Among those targeted are Khaled Qaddoumi, described as a liaison between Hamas and the Iranian government; and Ali Morshed Shirazi and Mostafa Mohammad Khani, officials in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force who are accused of training and assisting Hamas fighters.

The US also sanctioned a number of organisations, including the Iranian Bonyad Shahid, also known as the Martyrs Foundation. US officials say the group, which is affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, funnels millions of dollars through the Gaza-based Al-Ansar Charity Association for the families of militants.

The practice "ultimately serves as a recruiting tool for terrorist activities", the US says.

The sanctions freeze any US-based assets owned or controlled by the named individuals and organisations. They also block financial transactions with those designated and prohibit the contribution of funds, goods and services to them.

9:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN agency says 'soon many more will die' from Gaza siege

The United Nations warns that "many more will die" as a result of Israel's ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip, saying basic services in the Palestinian territory were "crumbling".

"As we speak people in Gaza are dying, they are not only dying from bombs and strikes, soon many more will die from the consequences of (the) siege imposed on the Gaza Strip," says Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general for UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

"Basic services are crumbling, medicine is running out, food and water are running out, the streets of Gaza have started overflowing with sewage."

9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt says unidentified drone crashes near hospital in Sinai town Taba

Egypt's army spokesperson said that an unidentified drone crashed on Friday morning near a hospital building in the Red Sea town of Taba, near the Sinai Peninsula border with Israel, injuring six people.


9:21 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel links Egypt projectile impact to 'aerial threat' in Red Sea

The Israeli military said on Friday that an "aerial threat" had been spotted in the Red Sea region and linked this to a projectile that landed on Egyptian coastal territory there.

"In recent hours, an aerial threat was spotted in the Red Sea region. Combat helicopters were scrambled in response to the threat, and this matter is now being investigated," chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

"To our understanding, the strike that took place in Egypt originated in this threat," he said in a televised briefing.

"Israel will work with Egypt, and the United States, and bolster regional defences against threats from the Red Sea region."


8:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli bombing of Gaza has killed 50 hostages, Hamas official says

Israeli bombing of Gaza has killed 50 of the hostages seized during raids by Palestinian militants on 7 October, Russia's Kommersant newspaper quoted a member of a Hamas delegation visiting Moscow as saying.

It quoted Abu Hamid as saying Hamas could not release the hostages until a ceasefire was agreed, and it needed time to locate all of those who had been taken to Gaza by various Palestinian factions.


8:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas leader says Israel wages 'annihilation war' on Gaza

The head of Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has said Israel was waging a "war of annihilation" on Gaza, and urged world countries to support the "resistance" in the strip.

In a televised speech on Thursday, Haniyeh criticised the sides which he said were supporting and cooperating with Israel.

He reiterated that Gazans refuse to be displaced, hailing the "clear position" adopted by Arab and Islamic countries which also rejected the "displacement plan devised by Israel and covered by the US".

Haniyeh added that the "resistance" was in control of the battle, pledging to continue fighting "the occupation enemy".

8:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli strikes hit Egyptian border town

Six people were injured early on Friday after an Israeli missile hit a medical facility in the Egyptian border town of Taba, according to state-run Al-Qahera News TV.

The the missile hit an ambulance facility and a residential building for the administration of Taba hospital. 

Al-Qahera News also quoted a "senior official" as saying that "as soon as the source from which the missile was launched into Taba has been determined, all options will be on the table", adding that "Egypt reserves its right to respond" to the incident.

The report cited Israeli TV as saying that investigations were under way in Israel to determine whether the missile was aimed at Eilat port but mistakenly hit Taba.