Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country's military leadership have remained silent about Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip. However, a week after the start of the ground operation, satellite images and social media reports offer some insights into where Israeli forces are moving and shed light on the overall strategy of their campaign, which aims to destroy Hamas, according to official statements.
NPR has examined available satellite images and social media reports, including those from eyewitnesses and the Israel Defense Forces. Based on these images and conversations with military experts, here's what can be gleaned so far about the operation.
Israeli forces have surrounded the city of Gaza, likely preparing for a protracted operation.
Israeli ground forces have been in the Gaza Strip for a week now, and their focus appears to be primarily on the city of Gaza itself.
It seems that Israeli forces are positioned on the outskirts of Gaza along three main axes: two from the north, advancing toward the city center, and one from the southeast, moving across the entire Gaza Strip.
The third axis, in the south of the city of Gaza, appears to have covered most of the territory in the first week. In a video from an eyewitness posted on October 30 on X, formerly known as Twitter, an Israeli tank is seen engaging in combat with a civilian car on one of the main roads from the north to the south between the city of Gaza and the southern parts of the Strip.
High-resolution satellite images taken by Planet on October 31 show about two dozen Israeli armored vehicles parked near the road, presumably for access control.
A second satellite image from the European Space Agency's satellite, taken on November 1, shows evidence that Israeli armor has moved about three-quarters of a mile (a little over a kilometer) from the coast. There are also eyewitness videos capturing heavy fighting in the area of Tal al-Hawa, on the southern outskirts of Gaza City, near the coast.
On Thursday evening, Israeli military officials announced that they had completely encircled the city of Gaza, cutting it off from the rest of the territory.
This is a standard tactic in any theater of war, says Gian Gentile, a senior historian at Rand Corp and a retired U.S. Army colonel.
"Isolating the objective is a fundamental approach to waging war," he says.
At the moment, it appears that Israeli forces are not sufficient for a complete occupation of the city.
In a Planet image taken on October 30, dozens of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles can be seen lined up on platforms along the northern outskirts of Gaza City. Films and photos released by the Israeli military show forces in the same area.