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JERUSALEM: The Israeli government said on Wednesday it has approved the use of Starlink satellite services in a field hospital in the war-battered Gaza Strip, and in Israel for the first time.

“The Israeli security authorities approved the provision of Starlink services at the UAE’s field hospital operating in Rafah,” the Communications Ministry said in a statement.

“Starlink low-latency, high-speed connections will enable video conferencing with other hospitals and real-time remote diagnostics,” it said.

The Communications Ministry also said that Starlink – the satellite network of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and the world’s largest satellite operator – will be enabled in Israel for the first time.

“The use of the company’s services will be limited at first with broader use expected in the future.”

Starlink internet for ‘recognised’ organisations in Gaza: Musk

Musk said in a posting on his social media platform X that he greatly appreciated Israel’s move, saying he hoped it would help both Israelis and Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

More than 28,000 people have been killed and 68,000 injured in Gaza during Israel’s retaliatory military campaign against the Palestinian group Hamas that runs the enclave following its deadly cross-border attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7, when it killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages.

Most of Gaza’s hospitals have been shut, with some of them directly hit by shelling or raided, and those still functioning are under growing pressure as Israeli troops push closer.

Israel says Hamas uses such medical facilities as cover for military purposes. Israel is facing growing international pressure to hold off on a planned assault on Rafah, the last refuge for displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza.

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