Israel-Hamas war live: Gaza phone and internet cut off as Israel intensifies bombardment | Israel-Hamas war

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Welcome to our new live blog continuing our rolling coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, now on day 22. This is Adam Fulton and here’s a look at the latest as it approaches 8.10am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv.

  • Israel knocked out the internet and communications across the Gaza Strip during a stepped-up bombardment on Friday night, largely cutting off the blockaded territory’s 2.3 million people from contact with the outside world and creating a near-blackout of information.

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Friday evening its air and ground forces were stepping up their operations in Gaza. IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said aerial attacks had been targeting Hamas tunnels and other targets and warned residents of Gaza City to move south. A senior Israeli government adviser said Hamas “will feel our wrath tonight”. “Tonight we are starting payback,” Mark Regev said. “When this is over, Gaza will be very different.”

  • The IDF announcement came amid exceptionally heavy bombing of Gaza. After nightfall, frequent explosions from airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City. The Red Crescent, the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, Unicef and other aid groups said they had lost all contact with their staff in Gaza.

  • The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has cautioned that “many more will die” in Gaza from catastrophic shortages. “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,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the agency chief.

  • Hamas said on Saturday its fighters in Gaza were ready to confront Israeli attacks with “full force” after Israel intensified its air and ground assaults. The Palestinian militant group said earlier that its fighters were clashing with Israeli troops in Gaza’s north-eastern town of Beit Hanoun and in the central area of Al-Bureij.

  • The US said it sought to degrade ammunition supplies of Iranian-linked militias with strikes in eastern Syria but insisted it did not want to widen the Middle East conflict. The strikes on two sites followed attacks by Iran-linked groups against US forces in Iraq and Syria. US president Joe Biden said later in a letter to House speaker Mike Johnson on Friday that the US “stands ready to take further action”.

  • The near-total telecommunications blackout in Gaza risks providing cover for mass atrocities, Human Rights Watch has said. A number of international agencies and NGOs said they had lost touch with their staff in Gaza on Friday, including the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

  • The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly called for an “immediate, durable and sustainable humanitarian truce” between Israel and Hamas and demanded unhindered aid access to the besieged Gaza Strip. The motion drafted by Jordan is not binding but carries political weight, reflecting the degree to which the US and Israel are isolated internationally as Israel steps up its ground operations.

  • The Israeli military has accused Hamas of using hospitals in Gaza for military purposes and of turning them into “hideouts for Hamas terrorists and commanders”. While it is not possible to verify the precise details of the claims by the IDF, there is evidence that Hamas has in the past taken advantage of cover provided by civilian objects, including hospitals.

  • At least 7,326 Palestinians, including 3,038 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said in its latest update on Friday. The claims have not been independently verified.

  • The UN has said it is concerned that war crimes are being committed on both sides of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “We are concerned about the collective punishment of Gazans in response to the atrocious attacks by Hamas, which also amounted to war crimes,” a spokesperson for the UN human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, said on Friday.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its medics had entered Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of war. Six medical staff passed through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, alongside four other ICRC specialists and six aid trucks carrying urgently needed medical material and water-purification supplies, an ICRC spokesperson said.

  • The Egyptian military reported that two drones fired from the southern Red Sea had landed in two resorts on the Sinai peninsula, one of them falling on Taba, which sits on the border with Israel. Six people were reported hurt in the incident, in a worrying sign of the conflict’s potential to spread.

  • EU leaders have unanimously called for humanitarian corridors and “pauses” in the Israel-Hamas war. An official declaration was to be issued after a two-day summit of leaders in Brussels that wrapped up on Friday.

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