A near-total communications blackout across the Gaza Strip continued for a sixth consecutive day on Wednesday, leaving besieged civilians unable to call for help and aid workers struggling to reach them as Israeli airstrikes continue to rain down on the south.
Paltel, the strip’s largest telecommunications company, said the blackout was the longest of several that Gaza has faced since the start of the war, and said it was the result of damaged infrastructure in the southern city of Khan Younis.
Airstrikes and fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants in the city have been so intense that repair crews have had trouble reaching the damaged sites, Paltel said. Last week, two of its workers attempting to make repairs were killed when a company car was fired upon, Paltel said, adding that it had coordinated the repairs with Israeli authorities in advance. The Israeli military said the incident was referred for investigation.
Hundreds have been killed and injured in Gaza since Friday, when the blackout began, according to Gazan health officials. Without internet and phone service, emergency workers from the Palestine Red Crescent Society have found it hard to quickly reach the injured.
This is the ninth blackout in Gaza since the war began, according to Isik Mater, director of research at Netblocks, an internet monitoring group.