Two days after cellular and internet service suddenly vanished for most of Gaza amid an intense Israeli bombardment, the besieged territory experienced a welcome resurgence in online connectivity on Sunday as communications systems were gradually being restored. This marked a significant relief for the crowded enclave which had plunged into a blackout that began late Friday as Israel escalated its ground operations.
Meanwhile, Israel entered a new phase of its war against Hamas on Saturday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming that the military has opened a “second stage” in the conflict by sending ground forces into Gaza and intensifying attacks from the ground, air and sea, news agency AP reported. Describing the conflict as a fight for the survival of his nation, he cautioned that the attack would escalate before a widespread land invasion of the area. Addressing a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Netanyahu warned Israelis to brace for a “long and hard” campaign.
Meanwhile, Hamas’s top leader in Gaza Yehiyeh Sinwar has said that the Palestinian militant groups are prepared to exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel’s jails. However, Israel’s military has said that the country is engaging through various channels to secure the release of the hostages, and has even dismissed the possibility of a Hamas-proposed cease-fire deal in exchange for their release.