Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have advanced deeper into the Gaza Strip as part of a military offensive against Hamas militants, according to satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press. The images show Israeli forces positioned just south of the marina in Gaza City, with over three dozen vehicles stationed on the beach behind sand berms for cover.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War also confirmed this advancement, with an analysis indicating that Israeli troops had cut off Gaza City from the south and were moving towards the marina on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Plumes of smoke could be seen from various locations around Gaza City, including Shifa Hospital, where thousands of people are seeking medical treatment. Israel has accused the hospital, along with other medical facilities, of providing cover for Hamas militant tunnels and command centers. However, both Hamas and hospital staff deny these allegations.
International law grants hospitals special protection during times of war, but this protection can be compromised if combatants use them to hide fighters or store weapons, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas began with a deadly incursion by Hamas militants into southern Israel on October 7th. In response, Israel launched a series of airstrikes and a military offensive into the Gaza Strip. The ongoing fighting has resulted in a high death toll, with over 11,000 casualties, two-thirds of them being women and children.
Israeli forces have approached Gaza City from three different positions, with troops advancing from the south, north, and east. Gathering independent information about the situation remains challenging, as journalists are unable to enter the city. However, satellite imagery from commercial companies, like Planet Labs, has become an important resource in reporting on inaccessible areas.
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