Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Communications blackout across Gaza down due to fuel shortage

"Gaza is again in a total communication blackout, and ... it is because there is no fuel," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told a press conference in Geneva.
Destroyed buildings stand in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. (Photo | AP)
Destroyed buildings stand in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. (Photo | AP)

A "total communication blackout" is underway in Gaza due to fuel shortages, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said on Thursday.

"Gaza is again in a total communication blackout, and ... it is because there is no fuel," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told a press conference in Geneva.

Lazzarini also warned of a "deliberate attempt to strangle our operation and paralyse the UNRWA operation."

UNRWA noted in a post on X that the communications blackout in the enclave means UN agencies won’t be able to coordinate aid convoys to the enclave, including a planned aid operation at the Rafah Crossing on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, the primary telecom provider in Gaza, Paltel, said that "all telecom services in Gaza Strip have gone out of service as all energy resources sustaining the network have been depleted, and fuel was not allowed in."

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum, reporting from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, said that people are embarking on yet another night with an “absence of communication”.

"Israeli forces are relentlessly targeting different areas across Gaza including the north, central, southern parts of the Strip", he said.

The telecommunications blackout is also affecting about 1.6 million Palestinians who have been displaced from Gaza’s north.

Abu Azzoum also added that the people of Palestine "don’t have any communication" with the outside world, and now depend on radios to get the news from the local channels. He further mentioned that “deliberate attacks” by Israeli forces on telecommunication towers are isolating Palestinians.

UPDATES FROM DAY 42 OF THE WAR

California protests demand cease-fire, traffic blocked as Biden and world leaders meet

  • At least 50 protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza were detained and arrested Thursday after shutting down all lanes of a major bridge into San Francisco.
  • The protest comes as U.S. President Joe Biden, world leaders and CEOs gathered in the city for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ conference.
  • They held a banner that said, “Stop the genocide,” and laid out a large sign on the asphalt calling for a ceasefire.
  • The Jewish-American advocacy group said about 200 protesters took part.
  • “There is a genocide happening in Gaza, and President Biden is hosting cocktail parties in San Francisco right now,” Aisha Nizar with the Palestinian Youth Movement said as the US president is taking part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
  • “We refuse to stand by as our elected officials pay for and cheer on the genocide of Palestinians. Biden must call for a ceasefire now,” Nizar said in a statement.
  • Norway parliament says be ready for Palestinian state 'recognition'

  • Norway's parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on the government to be ready to recognise an "independent" Palestinian state, in a new sign of Europe's anxiety over the Gaza war.
  • The proposition was made by Norway's ruling coalition to counter a resolution by smaller parties calling for an immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.
  • Passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament, it said the assembly "asks the government to be ready to recognise Palestine as an independent state when recognition could have a positive impact on the peace process, without making a final peace accord a condition."
  • The wording means that no recognition is likely in the immediate future but is a sign of the concern over the Gaza war in national assemblies across Europe.
  • Iceland, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania are among countries to have already given legal recognition to a Palestinian state.
  • Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, voted back into power on Thursday, told parliament that he would "work" towards recognition by his country and by Europe.
  • Gaza civilians face 'immediate possibility of starvation': UN

  • The UN's World Food Programme said Thursday that civilians in Gaza faced starvation because food and water had become "practically non-existent".
  • "With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation," the executive director of the Rome-based WFP, Cindy McCain, said in a statement.
  • The agency, which has been warning of increasing hunger for weeks in Gaza, said that bread was now "scarce or non-existent" and that it was impossible to "meet current hunger needs with one operational border crossing".
  • It said the only hope would be to open a second safe passage to bring food into Gaza.
  • WFP said a lack of fuel was also impeding the delivery of food, with trucks that arrived from Egypt on Tuesday unable to reach civilians because of insufficient fuel.
  • The amount of food entering Gaza remains "woefully inadequate", the agency warned, saying it was enough only to meet seven percent of minimum daily caloric needs.
  • Israel army says body of hostage found near Gaza's al-Shifa hospital

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it has recovered the body of Yehudit Weiss, 65, one of about 240 hostages taken by Hamas militants during the 7 October attacks on Israel.
  • The body was recovered from a building near al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the IDF said on Thursday. It was brought into Israel for identification and the family were informed, it said.
  • Weiss, a mother of five, was abducted from kibbutz Be’eri on 7 October, the Times of Israel reported. Her husband, Shmulik Weiss, was found murdered in the safe room of their home.
  • In a statement given by the IDF, it read that the body "was extracted by IDF troops from a structure adjacent to the Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip and was transferred to Israeli territory."
  • The IDF sent their heartfelt condolences to the family and added that they “will not cease from the mission until it will be completed.”
  • Gaza's Indonesian Hospital ‘completely out of service,’ says director

  • The Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza has been completely shut down and about 45 patients who urgently need surgery have been left in the reception area, the hospital chief Atef al-Kahlout has told Al Jazeera.
  • He also and called on ambulances “not to bring anymore wounded people” to the facility due to the lack of capacity. “We cannot offer any more services … we can’t offer patients any beds,”
  • “The Indonesian hospital has completely stopped serving and operating,” Kahlout told Reuters.
  • When asked if patients can be taken to other facilities, al-Kahlout said that “All hospitals in Gaza City and the north have stopped operating.”
  • All communication down across Gaza due to fuel shortages, General Manager of Paltel urges restoration

  • The general manager of Palestine Telecommunications Company, Paltel, said he has urged international bodies to persuade Israel to allow fuel to enter Gaza in order to restore phone and internet to the besieged enclave.
  • “We asked all international bodies to intervene with Israel in order to allow the entry of fuel,” Abdulmajeed Melhem told The Associated Press.
  • Earlier Thursday, Paltel announced that all communication services — landlines, mobile phones and internet connections — were down due to a lack of fuel.
  • “Since the outbreak of the war, there has been no electricity, therefore we have relied on alternative sources to operate the generators,” Melhem said. “If they (Israel) allow the entry of fuel, this problem will be solved.”
  • Until this week, Israel had completely prohibited fuel from going in to Gaza, fearing it could be commandeered by Hamas. But on Wednesday the Israeli government allowed the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees to receive 23,000 litres (6,076 gallons) of fuel, but under the restriction that it be used only for vehicles delivering aid.
  • UN rights chief urges international probe into Israel-Hamas war violations

    The UN human rights chief decried Thursday serious allegations of violations of international law in the Israel-Hamas war, suggesting an international investigation was needed.

    Israel army says 50 soldiers killed in Gaza since start of war

    The Israeli army on Thursday announced the deaths of two more soldiers in Gaza, raising the number of troops killed in the Palestinian territory to 50 since the war with Hamas militants began. An army spokesman confirmed the new overall toll to AFP, after announcing two soldiers were killed in combat in northern Gaza on Wednesday.

    Gunmen wound several in attack near Jerusalem: Israeli police

    Three gunmen attacked a checkpoint near Jerusalem on Thursday, Israeli police said, wounding several people before the attackers were "neutralised". Four people were wounded, one of them critically, the Magen David Adom emergency medical services said in a statement. The attack came on the 41st day of the war between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas militants.

    Saudi Arabia denounces Israel's invasion of Al-Shifa Hospital

    Saudi Arabia has "strongly condemned" the Israeli forces' storming of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza and the bombing of the vicinity of the Jordan Field Hospital.


    "The Kingdom stresses the need to activate international accountability mechanisms regarding these ongoing violations and brutal and inhumane practices by the Israeli occupation forces, against children, women, civilians, health facilities and relief teams," Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

    Gaza doctor describes unprecedented trauma in face of overwhelming casualties

    Haytham Kallab works as a general practitioner at Khan Younis' Nasser Medical Complex. In a conversation with Al Jazeera, the doctor said he had seen injuries that were "unbelievable and difficult to understand."


    "Maybe the hardest case me for was a mother holding her child. The child was dead. She was holding her baby while her legs were broken. She had multiple injuries and had to be resuscitated. I didn’t know whether to take her child away from her. I decided to allow her to keep holding her son. This affected me so I followed up. Then I heard her say she wished she had died rather than had her legs amputated," Kallab told Al Jazeera.


    Kallab believes the current war on Gaza is "unlike any other" due to the enormous number of casualties his hospital receives. He says children and women make up the bulk of cases he gets and the nature of cases that come into hospitals is "horrifying".