IDF Completes Strategic Road Across Northern Gaza: Satellite Images Raise Concerns

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 12:46 pm

Satellite images verified by the BBC reveal that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have completed the construction of a new road stretching across the width of northern Gaza, sparking concerns and speculation about its intended purpose.

The IDF asserts that the road, designed to run from east to west, serves the purpose of establishing an “operational foothold” and facilitating the movement of troops and equipment. However, experts express apprehension, suggesting it may function as a barrier, hindering Palestinians from returning to their homes in the northern region.

Some analysts argue that the road is indicative of a broader Israeli plan to maintain a presence in Gaza beyond the current hostilities. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined a post-war vision in which Israel would exert control over security in Gaza indefinitely, raising international concerns and warnings.

IDF Completes Strategic Road Across Northern Gaza: Satellite Images Raise Concerns

The road spans over 5 kilometers (3 miles), intersecting with major arteries such as Salah al-Din and al-Rashid roads, while passing through less densely populated areas. Satellite imagery analysis by the BBC reveals that over the past few months, the IDF has constructed new road sections, connecting previously unconnected routes. Buildings along the route, appearing to be warehouses, were reportedly demolished, and the road itself is wider than typical roads in Gaza.

Referred to as “Highway 749” in Israeli media, the road has raised questions about its potential use. Analysts from Janes, a defense intelligence company, suggest that the road’s unpaved surface is suitable for tracked armored vehicles, possibly indicating a strategic military purpose. Retired Brig Gen Jacob Nagel, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, emphasizes its role in providing fast access for security forces, highlighting Israel’s commitment to total defense, security, and responsibility for Gaza.

Experts like Justin Crump from Sibylline, a risk intelligence company, see the road as part of a longer-term strategy for security intervention and control in Gaza. Khaled Elgindy of the Middle East Institute believes the road divides Gaza, granting Israel control over movement both within and in and out of the region. The potential impact on the displaced Palestinian population, particularly those in the south, raises concerns about restricted access to their homes in the north.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *