Gazans frantically try to reconnect with loved ones as internet access returns

A total communication blackout struck Gaza on Friday night as the territory came under heavy Israeli bombardment.

Residents were cut off from the outside world, from each other and from contacting the emergency services.

Phone and internet access is gradually being restored, but the blackout put aid on hold and disrupted medical assistance.

A Sky News producer in Gaza sent this voice note on Sunday morning as connectivity slowly returned.

We don't know [why the network has come back]. Maybe someone hacked the satellite or maybe Israel - because of the international pressure - decided to allow the internet and calls to the Gaza people so they can check in on each other.

This morning at 3am we suddenly got messages on our phones. Many messages. We were able to read messages from our families and our friends in Gaza City.

There was no warning. We immediately started sending messages.

We don't know when it will cut again. We've had no contact from the Israeli side on why the connection came back.

The producer's family lives in Gaza City. She described it as a "terrifying and scary night" after two days of silence.

The moment I heard their voice I started crying because it was very difficult that I couldn't check on them for the last couple of nights.

I couldn't reach anyone to ask if they were fine, if they were hurt, it there was a chance that I would see them anymore or hear their voices again.

They are using a school near the Shifa Hospital as a shelter. The bombing is very heavy everywhere. Also using white phosphorous. People were out in the street, shouting and crying.

They feel scared because it's like they are the targets for the Israeli bombing and shelling from the tanks.

People are very angry and sad. You can see it in their faces, they feel alone and there is no one with them. There is no survival of the war.

They are scared the war will continue. They are afraid that Israel will target them even here. They don't feel any kind of safety.

But at the same time, they are suffering from daily life issues. You need to get water, you need food for your family. You need to use the bathroom. You need to go pick some stuff for your family.

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Her brother is a paramedic working in Gaza City. She's been trying to contact him since morning but has not heard from him yet.

He's been working in the field all the time. When there is bombing or anything like that, he's moving to check injured people.

They are targeting things like ambulance cars, civil defence and journalists. I'm worried that something will happen so we need to check on him all the time.

We talked early in in the morning about 5am. But since this time until now, I haven't heard anything from him yet.

More than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, according to Hamas-run health authorities. The IDF says more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel.

Israeli Defence Forces say its ground operation is focused on striking Hamas infrastructure.

It accused Hamas of using medical facilities as cover, adding they "will continue making efforts to minimise harm to the civilian population and will continue to act in accordance with international law".

Earlier this month, the IDF said accusations it was dropping white phosphorous on densely populated residential areas in Gaza were "unequivocally false".