Israeli troops have entered Gaza City along a key coastal road on the Mediterranean Sea, according to satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press. The images show impact craters from missile strikes and smoke rising over the northern part of Gaza City. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles were also seen in previous positions on one of the three axes of attack used to cut off the city from the rest of the Gaza Strip. The city has experienced a mass exodus of people following a month of war that began with Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel, resulting in the death of approximately 1,400 people. The Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip has claimed the lives of over 10,500 people, including two-thirds women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Planet Labs, which provides satellite imagery, has delayed releasing images from Israel and the Palestinian territories due to concerns about potential misuse and abuse. However, they continue to make Earth observation data of Gaza available to clients, including media and humanitarian organizations. The Israeli military has not provided any comments about the satellite images or its strategy in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces have approached Gaza City from three directions, cutting across the southern edge of the city to the Mediterranean Sea and advancing from the north. Clearing operations like these can take weeks or even months to complete. The satellite photos show Israeli tanks and armored vehicles along a coastal road, with nearby buildings in ruins and impact craters from previous barrages.
Due to restricted access for journalists, satellite imagery has become a valuable tool for reporting on closed-off areas and conflicts. Companies like Airbus and Maxar Technologies have also provided images during the Israel-Hamas war. These images have been used in previous reporting on Israel, including the construction activity at a secretive nuclear facility.