SpaceX CEO Elon Musk with one of his son walks on the pit lane after the 2023 United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on October 22, 2023. AFP
Aid groups say they are unable to communicate with their teams in the Gaza Strip after phone and internet services collapsed during intense Israeli bombardment supporting the intensifying ground operation.
Musk announcement comes after US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, widely known as AOC, inquired how anyone could justify "such an action" following the disruption of communications and the internet in the Gaza Strip.
"Cutting off all communication to a population of 2.2 million is unacceptable. Journalists, medical professionals, humanitarian efforts, and innocents are all endangered," AOC said in a post on X.
"I do not know how such an act can be defended. The United States has historically denounced this practice," he added.
Responding to the leader, Musk said, “Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza.”
Starlink, created by SpaceX, Musk's aerospace company, is a satellite network designed to offer affordable internet access to isolated areas. Each Starlink satellite has an estimated lifespan of around five years, and SpaceX's ultimate goal is to deploy up to 42,000 satellites as part of this ambitious mega-constellation project.
The network, which helps increasingly high-tech soldiers to operate in areas where other means of communication are down, is a key battlefield tool for Kyiv. However, Musk has said he prevented Ukraine from wiping out Russia’s Black Sea navy fleet last year by denying Starlink internet access.
Internet connectivity was completely cut off across the Gaza Strip on Friday amid intense bombardment of the area by the Israeli forces.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society stated that the "interruption impacts the primary emergency number 101 and obstructs the prompt arrival of ambulances to assist the injured" during the continuing airstrikes.
"We have completely lost contact with the operations room in the Gaza Strip and all our teams operating there," it wrote on X.
Meanwhile, speaking about the communication cut-off Palestinian telecoms provider Jawwal wrote on Facebook, “The heavy bombardment in the last hour destroyed all remaining international routes connecting Gaza to the outside world.”
Global internet monitor NetBlocks also reported "a collapse in connectivity in the Gaza Strip with high impact to Paltel," Jawwal's parent organisation.
"The company is the last remaining major operator to supply service as connectivity declines amid ongoing fighting," NetBlocks said in a post on X.