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Gaza Suffers Telecommunications Blackout

GAZA, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Internet, mobile phone service and landlines were cut off in Gaza Strip areas, sparking fear of an impending Israeli offensive, officials said Wednesday.

Telecommunications were severed late Tuesday in many areas but Israeli Internet servers remained online and people with Blackberry mobile phones were able to communicate in some areas, the Ma’an news agency reported Wednesday.

Residents feared the communications breakdown signified an Israeli invasion in the Gaza Strip was under way, the International Middle East Media Center said.

The cause of the blackout was unclear. However, some Palestinians reported spotting Israeli bulldozers operating near northern Gaza shortly before the blackout occurred, the agency said. A military spokesman, however, denied the claims, Ma’an said.

Technicians at the Palestinian mobile phone company Jawwal said it had received complaints from customers who were experiencing technical difficulties but was unable to explain the cause, the news agency said.

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