Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have expanded their presence in the Gaza Strip as part of an offensive against Hamas militants, according to satellite photos analyzed by the Associated Press. The images from Planet Labs PBC show the Israeli forces positioned just south of Gaza City’s marina, with several vehicles on the beach that likely offer cover. The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War also confirmed the presence of Israeli troops in that area. These developments come as fighting continues between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.
Additionally, the satellite images reveal deep impact craters from missile fire around the Israeli positions. Plumes of smoke can also be seen rising from various locations in Gaza City, passing over the main hospital known as Shifa. Israel has accused Shifa and other hospitals of providing cover for Hamas tunnels and command centers, but hospital staff deny these allegations.
International law grants hospitals special protections during warfare, but these protections can be forfeited if combatants use them for military purposes. The ongoing conflict has placed a strain on medical resources, with supplies running low and hospitals struggling to provide adequate care. Shifa hospital staff, for example, have even had to perform surgeries on war-wounded patients, including children, without anesthesia.
The offensive by Israeli forces began following Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel on October 7. The conflict has since escalated, with over 11,000 casualties, the majority of whom are women and children, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. Israeli soldiers have approached Gaza City from three different positions, cutting across the southern edge of the city and moving north toward the Mediterranean. Journalists are having difficulty gathering independent information as access to the city is restricted. Satellite imagery, such as that provided by Planet Labs, has become essential for reporting on closed-off areas and conflicts around the world.
For full AP coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, visit [AP News](https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war).