Intense bombardment on northern Gaza, while the Israeli army says ground forces are expanding their operations in the besieged Strip.
Israel has intensified its bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip, with the collapse of internet and mobile communications services in the Palestinian territories.
An extended series of large explosions lit up the sky of Gaza City after nightfall on Friday, and an Al Jazeera correspondent said that northern Gaza was being bombarded by air and artillery strikes.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that it had completely lost contact with its operations room in Gaza and all its teams working on the ground.
Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hajari said that Israel had intensified its air strikes “very significantly” and that ground forces were “expanding their activity” in Gaza.
Gaza City residents were asked to move south on Friday evening, with the escalation of Israeli attacks on the Strip.
“In the last two hours, we have heard intense airstrikes and intense artillery shelling at the same time, which is unusual – which means the firepower is much greater than in previous days,” Al Jazeera’s Safwat Kahlot said. Report from Gaza City.
“Today is the worst in terms of Israeli firepower, and we can hear some explosions… coming from the sea as well, specifically in the northern Gaza Strip.
He added, “Air strikes and artillery shells are now increasing in the north.”
Palestinian telecommunications company Jawwal said in a social media post late Friday that mobile phone and internet services were cut off.
“We don’t have any internet, we don’t have any kind of signal on our phones, we’ve become completely isolated in the area,” Al Jazeera’s Tariq Abu Azoum reported from Khan Yunis in Gaza on Friday. He added that residents “felt fear and terror.”
The outage comes as the Palestinians prepare for an expected Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. Israeli officials have threatened to launch a ground offensive to oust Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the region. In recent days, Israeli forces have carried out limited raids in Gaza.
Israel has been bombing the Strip relentlessly since Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,400 people.
Since that attack, Israel has imposed a “total blockade” on Gaza, cutting off access to food, water, fuel and electricity for the enclave’s 2.3 million residents who have few options to seek shelter.
The United Nations has warned that “more people will die” as a result of Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, which has also caused sewage to flow into the streets.
“People in Gaza are dying; Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said: “They are not only dying because of bombs and strikes, but many others will soon die because of the consequences of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.”
He added: “Basic services are collapsing, medicine is running out, food and water are running out, and Gaza’s streets are beginning to overflow with sewage.”