Over two million people in the Gaza Strip face complete isolation from the world, with internet and power access shrinking as Israel continues to retaliate against Hamas atrocities.
Gaza is approaching a near total internet blackout as the region suffered its worst loss in connectivity today since fighting first broke out on Oct. 7.
The last standing major internet operator in the region, Paltel, experienced damage to its international routes, according to NetBlocks, an internet outage monitoring firm based in London. Many Palestinians are experiencing a total loss of internet access and the ability to communicate electronically, according to the data, while some may have very little connectivity.
Jawwal, another Palestinian telecom company that provides mobile service to the Gaza Strip, also released a statement Friday, saying “the intense bombardment in the past hour has resulted in the destruction of all remaining international routes connecting Gaza with the outside world” leading to a “complete interruption of telecommunications services.”
Internet connectivity in Gaza’s Deir al-Balah governorate has been most deeply impacted, according to the NetBlocks data. Overall connectivity in the region is currently just under 6%. The area has suffered damage in several locations since fighting began, including the Nuseirat refugee camp. Many of Gaza’s most vulnerable residents live in Deir al-Balah: It’s home to four of Gaza’s eight refugee camps, providing shelter for at least 191,000 refugees, according to an estimate from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
Palestinian internet providers can only offer 2G network services, which is much more sluggish than 3G and also more vulnerable to security attacks due to weak encryption. A previous UN report indicated some Gaza residents living near the Israeli border could access 3G and 4G networks from Israeli operators, although the current situation is unclear, and those with Israeli or international SIM cards are still reporting some access.
Internet connections are likely to worsen as the Israel Defense Forces announced Friday its “expanding ground operations.”
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