Palestinians blame Israel for Gaza blackout

Internet and phones shut off for around 12 hours after Israeli bulldozers cut fibre optic line, company officials allege

    Mobile phone services and international landline calls were unavailable [GALLO/GETTY]

    Internet and phone services were shut off in Gaza late on Tuesday night, putting the blockaded territory into an information blackout for around 12 hours.

    Palestinian telecommunications officials blamed Israeli bulldozers for severing fibreoptic lines into Gaza, but Israel denied its army had any connection to the problem.

    The Israeli Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories said the outage was likely an internal Palestinian problem, and a spokesman for the Israeli army wrote on Twitter that bulldozers had not been digging at Nahal Oz, where the cables cross into Gaza.

    Officials from PalTel, which operates Internet and phone networks in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that Israeli bulldozers cut the cables at Nahal Oz two weeks ago, forcing the company to use another set of communications lines at the Erez crossing, which were then cut on Tuesday.

    PalTel needed permits to repair the lines but had not yet received them from Israel, chief executive officer Ammar al-Aker said.

    Almost all attempts to dial into Gaza from abroad, including via the internet, were met with error messages. 

    Israeli-provided wireless and Blackberry services remained on in some areas, Ma'an News reported.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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