Internet cut off as UN overwhelmingly calls for humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas
Israel 'expanding' Gaza ground operations, communications cut off
5 hours ago
Featured VideoIsrael says it is 'expanding' ground operations in Gaza, but with communications cut off and much of the territory plunged into darkness, the full extent of its attack is unclear and the humanitarian situation is as desperate as ever.
Israel stepped up bombardments of the Gaza Strip Friday night hours after internet and communications were knocked out and largely cut off the Palestinian territory's 2.3 million people from contact with each other and the outside world.
Explosions from continuous airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City for hours after nightfall.
Already plunged into darkness after most electricity was cut off weeks ago, Palestinians were thrown into isolation, huddling in homes and shelters with food, water and fuel supplies running out.
Earlier Friday night, the Israeli military signalled it was moving closer to an all-out invasion of Gaza, vowing to crush Hamas, which rules Gaza, after it led a bloody incursion in southern Israel three weeks ago.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said its ground forces were "expanding their activity" in the besieged enclave.
"In addition to the attacks that we carried out in recent days, ground forces are expanding their activity this evening," Israeli army spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Friday night. "The IDF is acting with great force … to achieve the objectives of the war."
Israel amassed hundreds of thousands of troops along the border with Gaza ahead of an expected ground offensive against Hamas.
Shortly before the IDF announcement, Palestinian telecom provider Paltel said internet service in Gaza has been cut off by Israeli bombardment.
Services were cut Friday evening following a heavy round of Israeli airstrikes that lit up the night sky.
The Palestinian Red Crescent, the main emergency service in Gaza, said it was suspended from its operations room because of the internet blackout and landline and cellular communications had also been disconnected.
"We are deeply concerned about the ability of our teams to continue providing their emergency medical services, especially since this disruption affects the central emergency number 101 and hinders the arrival of ambulance vehicles to the wounded and injured," read a statement from the Red Crescent.
The head of UNICEF said the agency had lost contact with its colleagues in Gaza.
We have lost touch with our colleagues in Gaza.<br> <br>I’m extremely concerned about their safety and another night of unspeakable horror for 1M children in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gaza</a>. <br> <br>All humanitarians and the children and families they serve MUST be protected.
The Netblocks internet observatory confirmed connectivity in the Gaza strip has broken down.
"Live network data show a collapse in connectivity in the Gaza Strip … amid reports of heavy bombardment," the observatory said.
The cut-off meant that casualties from strikes and details of ground incursions could not immediately be known.
Some satellite phones continued to function.
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Israeli forces backed by fighter jets and drones had already carried out its second ground raid into Gaza in as many days and struck targets on the outskirts of Gaza City, the military said Friday.
The Israeli military said ground forces raided inside Gaza, striking dozens of militant targets over the previous 24 hours.
It said aircraft and artillery bombed targets in Shijaiyah, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Gaza City.
The military said the soldiers exited the territory without suffering any casualties.
The IDF's Hagari said the raids enable forces to "uncover the enemy" to kill militants and remove explosives and launch pads. The aim is "to prepare the ground for the next stages of the war," he added.
The next stage is a ground offensive that "will take a long time," Israel Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told a small group of foreign reporters on Friday. Gallant said the ground invasion would include large forces, backed by airstrikes, and that it would be followed by a third phase of lower-intensity fighting, as Israel destroys "pockets of resistance."
Health-care situation in Gaza 'unbearable'
11 hours ago
Featured VideoCanadian physician Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan says she heard from doctors in Gaza regularly before communication was cut off. She shared a message she received from one of her nursing colleagues on the ground, who wrote that 'death did not have mercy on anyone, young or old.'
UN resolution adopted without Hamas condemnation
The UN General Assembly approved a non-binding resolution Friday calling for a "humanitarian truce" in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
It was the first UN response to Hamas's surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and Israel's ongoing military response and vow to obliterate Hamas.
The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 120-14 with 45 abstentions after rejecting a Canadian amendment backed by the United States to unequivocally condemn the Oct. 7 "terrorist attacks" by Hamas and demand the immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas.
"The critical reason for how we got here has already been forgotten as if it never happened," Canada's ambassador to the UN, Bob Rae, told the assembly.
Rae also criticized the failure to include any mention of the more than 200 hostages held in Gaza in the draft resolution, which was put forward by the UN's 22-nation Arab group.
Israel's UN envoy slammed the vote, saying the world body had no legitimacy or relevance after the General Assembly adopted the resolution.
UN Secretary General António Guterres reiterated his call for a humanitarian truce ahead of the General Assembly vote, calling for the "unconditional release of all hostages" and for life-saving supplies to be delivered into Gaza "at the scale needed."
"Everyone must assume their responsibilities. This is a moment of truth. History will judge us all," Guterres said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
According to the UN, an average of 12 trucks per day have entered the Gaza Strip since Egypt opened the Rafah crossing for aid deliveries, whereas approximately 500 trucks per day crossed into Gaza before the hostilities began.
The Palestinian death toll has soared past 7,300 as Israel has carried out waves of devastating airstrikes in response to the Hamas attack. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which tracks the toll, released a detailed list of names and ID numbers on Thursday to counter suggestions by U.S. President Joe Biden and others that it was inflating casualty figures.
The airstrikes have flattened entire neighbourhoods, causing a level of death and destruction unseen in the last four wars between Israel and Hamas. More than a million people have fled their homes, with many heeding Israeli orders to evacuate to the south, despite continuing Israeli strikes across the sealed-off territory.
More than 613,000 people were estimated to have been made homeless by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and were being sheltered by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
More than 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians, were slain during the initial Hamas attack, including several Canadians. Hamas is holding at least 229 captives inside Gaza, according to Israel, including men, women, children and older adults.
UN rapporteur says Palestinians are being collectively punished for Hamas's crimes
3 days ago
Featured Video"What's the point of bombarding an entire population … half of whom are children?" said Francesca Albanese, United Nations special rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories. Albanese says Israel is not only committing war crimes against Palestinians, but also crimes against humanity.
Rocket hits Egypt
Elsewhere, Egyptian state media reported that six people were wounded when a rocket slammed into a medical building in the Red Sea coast town of Taba, on the border with Israel.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said missiles and drones that hit Egypt on Friday were launched at Israel by the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen.
"Israel condemns the harm caused to Egypt's security forces by the missiles and drones launched by the Houthi terrorist organization with the intention of harming Israel," a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
Israeli military spokesperson Hagari said fighter jets were dispatched to the area and that Israel, Egypt and the U.S. were tightening their defences in the region.
Hamas rockets still breaking through Israeli defences despite airstrikes
1 day ago
Featured VideoDespite Israel's continuing campaign of devastating airstrikes targeting militants that Hamas says have killed more than 7,000 people, rockets continue to damage areas as far away as Tel Aviv. Israeli tanks ventured into Gaza for a brief incursion overnight Wednesday, which Israel says was in preparation for the next phase of the war.
With files from CBC News and Reuters
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