Limited phone and internet services began working again on Friday across the Gaza Strip after fuel was delivered to restart generators that power the networks.
Israel announced that it will allow two tanker trucks of fuel into Gaza each day for the United Nations and communication systems. That amount is half of what the UN said it needs for lifesaving functions including powering water systems, hospitals, bakeries and the trucks delivering aid.
At least 11,470 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and children — have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health authorities. About 2,700 people are reported missing.
Limited internet and phone access returns in Gaza
The Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel said on Friday that phone and internet services were partially working again across Gaza after fuel was delivered to restart generators that power the networks.
NetBlocks, a group tracking internet outages, confirmed that “internet connectivity is being partially restored” in the Gaza Strip.
On Thursday, Paltel announced that all communication services, including landline connection, mobile network and Internet connection, dropped due to a lack of fuel.
The next day, Israel agreed to allow two tanker trucks of fuel, equaling 60,000 litres, into Gaza each day.
A US State Department official said 10,000 litres of the daily intake will be used to power the enclave’s communications network.
Before this week, Israel had completely prohibited fuel from entering Gaza, fearing it could be commandeered by Hamas and used against them.
Israel says ‘dire’ conditions in Shifa hospital
More than two days after Israeli soldiers stormed Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, doctors said they were amputating limbs to avoid infection and spoke of wounds festering with maggots, while Israel’s military said it was still searching for evidence to back up its allegations that Hamas used the hospital as a command centre.
Hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia told Al Jazeera television that 52 patients have died since fuel ran out — up from 40 reported dead before Israeli troops entered the compound on Wednesday. More patients were on the verge of death as their wounds were “open with maggots coming out of them,” another doctor, Faisal Siyam, told the Qatar-run TV network.
Abu Selmia said Israeli troops should either bring them fuel to power equipment or allow an evacuation.
Israel has delivered food and water to patients, said Col. Elad Goren, the head of civil affairs at COGAT, the defence body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs. Abu Selmia said the amount was far too little for the nearly 7,000 people in the compound.
The Israeli military said on Friday that it was searching the hospital for Hamas infrastructure, but acknowledged it was taking a long time and that patients in the hospital were suffering.
“We’re aware that the situation is dire,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a military spokesperson, told reporters on Friday.
Since entering Shifa earlier this week, the Israeli army said it has found weapons and military equipment hidden around the hospital and in a vehicle outside, as well as the laptop it says belonged to a Hamas militant. It also released videos of what it says is a tunnel, which is still being studied. The military’s claims could not be independently verified.
But Israel has yet to present proof of a Hamas command and control centre it previously said is underneath the hospital.
International criminal court is gathering info on alleged crimes
International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan says that his office has received “a significant volume of information and evidence” about alleged crimes committed during the Israel-Hamas war.
Khan did not elaborate on the nature of the information his office has received.
He commented in a written statement on Friday confirming that South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, and Djibouti had made official state referrals to the court about the “Situation in the State of Palestine,” which his office has been investigating since March 2021. South Africa announced the referral on Thursday.
The ICC investigation dates back to the last major Israel-Hamas war in 2014 but also includes the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Khan says his prosecution office “will continue its engagement with all relevant actors, whether national authorities, civil society, survivor groups or international partners, to advance this investigation.”
He also says he will “continue my efforts to visit the State of Palestine and Israel to meet with survivors, hear from civil society organisations and engage with relevant national counterparts.”