- This is a breaking news story, more to follow
Israeli warplanes have tonight unleashed airstrikes of ‘unprecedented’ intensity across all parts of the Gaza strip, according to observers.
The aerial onslaught, which observers described as much more ferocious and louder than previous days, coincided with electricity and communications blackouts in much of the besieged enclave, according to Hamas, sparking fears that a full-scale Israeli ground invasion could be imminent.
According to one report the Israelis even unleashed ‘bunker buster’ concussion missiles to try and destroy the extensive Hamas tunnel network under Gaza.
The two-stage munitions shake the ground and the first part of the warhead penetrates the ground, allowing the second to reach deep beneath the surface.
The report in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper, could not be verified.
Israel has stepped up its bombing campaign against Gaza
The Hamas government said Israel ‘cut communications and most of the internet’ across the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas government’s media office accused Israel of taking the measure ‘to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea,’ as heavy strikes hit northern Gaza.
The Palestinian Red Crescent, the main emergency service in Gaza, said it was cut off from its operations room in the strip because of the internet blackout.
Palestinian telecoms provider Jawwal announced ‘the total cut of all communication services and internet’ in the territory.
Global internet monitor NetBlocks reported ‘a collapse in connectivity in the Gaza Strip with high impact to Paltel,’ Jawwal’s owner, citing live network data.
‘The company is the last remaining major operator to supply service as connectivity declines amid ongoing fighting with Israel,’ NetBlocks wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
A report in the Cairo News, citing Israeli sources, described it as ‘the start of the comprehensive ground attack on the Gaza Strip’, adding ‘#Solidarity with Palestine.’
At the same time, Hamas unleashed volley after volley of rockets back at Israel.
The new upsurge in violence came as the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urgently appealed for more aid deliveries to be allowed through to Gaza from Egypt.
‘The humanitarian system in Gaza is facing a total collapse with unimaginable consequences for more than 2 million civilians,’ Guterres said in a statement.
More to follow.