Israeli troops have advanced into Gaza City, along the Mediterranean Sea, as part of their ongoing military campaign against Hamas, according to satellite images analyzed earlier this week. The images reveal widespread destruction from missile strikes and the presence of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles in strategic positions. The city, which is the largest urban zone in the Gaza Strip, has experienced a significant exodus of residents as a result of the month-long conflict.
Since Hamas initiated an incursion into southern Israel on October 7th, the conflict has escalated, resulting in the deaths of over 10,500 people, with two-thirds of the casualties being women and children. Israeli forces have been steadily advancing on Gaza City from multiple directions, cutting off the city from the rest of the Gaza Strip. Witness testimonies and footage released by both Hamas and the Israeli military support the satellite images, confirming the presence of Israeli soldiers near Shati refugee camp and Shifa Hospital.
The release of imagery from Israel and Palestine has been temporarily delayed by Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based firm, due to concerns about the potential misuse of the pictures. However, the company remains committed to providing the data to media and humanitarian organizations. The Institute for the Study of War has stated that clearing operations in Gaza City typically take weeks or even months to complete.
The satellite photos depict Israeli forces moving along Ahmed Orabi Street, a coastal road lined with hotels and restaurants. The images also reveal the destruction of a mosque and numerous impact craters, likely from previous Israeli airstrikes. Independent reporting on the situation in Gaza City remains difficult due to limited access for journalists. Satellite imagery has become an invaluable resource for documenting events in closed-off areas, providing detailed images that were once only accessible to a few countries.
Commercial companies like Airbus and Maxar Technologies have also supplied images during the Israel-Hamas conflict. These high-resolution images were not readily available in the past but have now become more widely accessible due to advancements in satellite technology. In 2021, the AP used similar imagery to report on a secretive Israeli nuclear facility that appeared to be undergoing significant construction. This construction project is reportedly ongoing.