Israeli ground forces have made a significant advance in northern Gaza, traveling a distance of over two miles from the Israel-Gaza border. A video circulating on social media provided the first concrete evidence of their location and activities during the ongoing conflict.
CNN took the lead in analyzing videos from various social media platforms. The footage captured on Saturday shows Israeli soldiers hoisting their flag on a resort rooftop in Gaza. Through geolocation techniques, CNN pinpointed the video's origins to an area approximately two miles from the border.
One soldier captured in the footage commented, "Soldiers of the 52 Battalion of the 401 Brigade are waving the Israeli flag in the heart of Gaza, by the beach." He added defiantly, "We will not forgive nor forget, and we’ll not stop until victory."
Communications Hampered, Tensions Escalate
Amidst the turmoil, communication in and out of Gaza faced severe disruptions.
Although service providers announced the gradual restoration of services on Sunday, the information blackout posed challenges for global media and observers. On the ground, the atmosphere remained tense. From their vantage point in Sderot, an Israeli city near the Gaza Strip perimeter, a CNN team reported hearing regular machine-gun fire on Sunday.
While the northern part of the enclave, closer to the border, reverberated with the sounds of gunfire, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intensified their artillery and mortar fire further south. Witnesses reported a notable military movement on Sunday.
IDF tanks and armored vehicles neared the border as helicopters, drones, and fighter jets maintained a vigilant presence overhead. A substantial convoy of vehicles was spotted north of the lane, while fields once teeming with military machinery stood almost barren — hinting at the advancing troops' movements closer to the Gaza perimeter.
Devastating Humanitarian Impact
The ongoing conflict has taken a heavy toll on Gaza's residents. The Ministry of Health in the besieged Palestinian enclave released startling figures on Sunday: since October 7, Israeli attacks have resulted in 8,005 Palestinian deaths.
Among these, 3,342 were children, 2,062 were women, and 460 were elderly individuals. The disproportionately high number of children, making up nearly half the casualties, underscores the devastating humanitarian impact of the ongoing strife.