Israeli troops have entered 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 show impact craters from missile strikes and rising smoke in the northern part of the city. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles are also seen in the images, indicating their previous positions and the axes of attack used to isolate the city from the rest of the Gaza Strip.
The war between Israel and Hamas began after Hamas launched an attack into southern Israel, resulting in civilian casualties. Israel responded with airstrikes and a military offensive into the Gaza Strip. The conflict has led to the deaths of over 10,500 people, the majority of whom are women and children according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Planet Labs, a company that provides satellite imagery, has delayed the release of images from Israel and the Palestinian territories due to concerns about misuse and abuse. However, they continue to make data of Gaza available to media and humanitarian organizations. Israeli forces are seen approximately a kilometer north of the Shati refugee camp, which houses Palestinians who fled or were driven out of Israel during the 1948 war. Witnesses have confirmed the presence of Israeli soldiers fighting Hamas in the area, and footage released by both Hamas and the Israeli military align with the satellite images.
Israeli soldiers have approached Gaza City from three positions, cutting across the southern edge of the city to the Mediterranean Sea. Clearing operations like these typically take weeks or months to complete. The satellite photos reveal Israeli tanks and armored vehicles moving along the coastal road, with impact craters and destroyed buildings in the vicinity. Independent information about the situation in Gaza City remains difficult to obtain, but satellite imagery has become increasingly valuable for reporting on closed-off areas.
Commercial satellite companies like Airbus and Maxar Technologies have also provided images during the Israel-Hamas war. Previously, US law limited the release of high-resolution satellite imagery of Israel, but with the advancement of commercial satellites, these images have become more widely available. Such imagery has been used in the past to report on sensitive locations in Israel, including a secretive nuclear facility.