Israeli troops have advanced into Gaza City along a key coastal road on the Mediterranean Sea as part of their ongoing conflict with Hamas, according to satellite images analyzed by The Associated Press. The images reveal impact craters from missile strikes and smoke rising over the northern part of the city, which is currently experiencing mass evacuations due to the month-long war. The Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip has resulted in the deaths of over 10,500 people, with two-thirds of the casualties being women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Planet Labs, which provides Earth observation data, has delayed the release of imagery from Israel and the Palestinian territories due to concerns about the potential misuse and abuse of its pictures. However, the company continues to provide data to clients, including media and humanitarian organizations.
The satellite images show Israeli forces positioned about a kilometer north of the Shati refugee camp, a densely populated neighborhood near the city center. Witnesses in Gaza City have confirmed these positions and have reported fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants in various areas. Hamas has released footage of their militants engaged in street-to-street fighting, which corresponds to the features shown in the satellite images. The Israeli military has declined to comment on the images and their strategy in Gaza.
The clearing operations being conducted by Israeli forces in Gaza City are expected to take weeks or even months to complete, according to the Institute for the Study of War. The satellite photos reveal Israeli tanks and armored vehicles moving along the coastal road, as well as the destruction caused by intense gunfire in the area.
With limited access for journalists in Gaza City, satellite imagery from commercial companies has become a valuable source of information. Previously, U.S. companies were restricted from releasing high-resolution images of Israel, but as technology advanced, these images became more widely available. These images have been used to report on various aspects of the Israel-Hamas conflict, including the construction at a secretive Israeli nuclear facility.