Gaza loses telecom contact again 

Gaza experienced its third total communications blackout since the war began between Israel and Hamas, multiple outlets reported Sunday. 

The Associated Press said Gaza was experiencing a “collapse in connectivity,” reported by an advocacy group for internet access, 

The Palestinian telecommunications company, Paltel, claimed on Sunday that internet access was cut off and placed blame on Israel for the outage.

“The main routes that were previously reconnected (were) cut off again from the Israeli side,” the company said in a statement, reported by The Jerusalem Post, via the Reuters news service. 

U.N. Palestinian refugee agency spokesperson Juliette Touma confirmed to the AP that her team is experiencing an outage. 

“We have lost communication with the vast majority of the UNRWA team members,” Touma said. 

The reported outage comes as Israel officials warned it’s prepared to attack northern Gaza and has surrounded Gaza City. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, told reporters Sunday that the military is preparing for a “significant stage” in the war against Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organization. 

The IDF has warned Gaza citizens to flee to the south. The AP reported that Israel set up a one-way corridor from the north to south Gaza, to allow for safe passageway. 

The IDF claimed it has given specific instructions in Arabic – via phone call, pamphlet and televised interviews – on how to relocate south. The AP confirmed that leaflets in Arabic were distributed from above during a four-hour window on Sunday.  

The development follows weeks of airstrikes in Gaza, after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel’s southern border, killing about 1,400 Israelis and taking about 240 hostages. Israeli officials have pledged to defeat Hamas and bring back the hostages.

The airstrikes have resulted in the destruction of residential neighborhoods in Gaza, despite Israel’s claims to be targeting Hamas officials. The human death toll, too, has been high. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry estimates that nearly 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes.

As pressure mounts for a cease-fire, Israel has said there would be no discussion of a cease-fire until the hostages are returned home.

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