Elon Musk’s Starlink to provide internet for ‘recognised’ aid organisations in Gaza amid blackout

Billionaire Elon Musk on Saturday said that his Starlink satellite service would support internet access for “internationally recognised aid organisations in Gaza”, which have faced a telecommunications blackout since Friday.

Starlink is a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that can provide internet to remote locations, or areas that have had normal communications infrastructure disabled.

Musk, who owns Starlink operator SpaceX, was responding to a post by US Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in which she called the communications blackout in Gaza “unacceptable”.

“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognised aid organisations in Gaza,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter, which he also owns.

Head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We could really benefit from Starlink to try getting in touch with our staff and health facilities in Gaza. How can we make it happen?”

UN agencies and NGOs had earlier on Saturday reported that they had lost contact with their teams in the Gaza Strip.

“Hospitals and humanitarian operations can’t continue without communications,” Lynn Hastings, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, wrote on X.

Israel unleashed its bombing campaign after Hamas gunmen stormed across the Gaza border on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and seizing more than 220 hostages, according to Israeli officials. The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said Israeli strikes had killed 7,703 people, mainly civilians, including 3,500 children.

Musk ‘stopped Ukraine from wiping out Russian fleet by denying Starlink access’

Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service was also deployed in Ukraine shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022. The network, which helps increasingly hi-tech soldiers to operate in areas where other means of communication are down, is a key battlefield tool for Kyiv.

In September, Musk said he had prevented Ukraine from wiping out Russia’s Black Sea navy fleet last year by denying Starlink internet access.

“There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol. The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor,” Musk wrote on X.

The statement sparked sharp condemnation from Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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