“Impact craters from the Oct. 31 strike on the densely packed Gaza neighborhood are approximately 40 feet wide. Israel said it was aiming at underground Hamas targets.
Israel used at least two 2,000-pound bombs during an airstrike on Tuesday on Jabaliya, a dense area just north of Gaza City, according to experts and an analysis conducted by The New York Times of satellite images, photos and videos.
Hospital officials said that dozens of civilians were killed and hundreds wounded in the strike. Israel said it was targeting a Hamas commander and fighters, as well as the network of underground tunnels used by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, to hide weapons and fighters.
Israel’s use of such bombs, the second largest type in its arsenal, is not uncommon, and the size is generally the largest that most militaries use on a regular basis. They can be used to target underground infrastructure, but their deployment in a dense and heavily populated area like Jabaliya has raised questions of proportionality — whether Israel’s intended targets justify the civilian death toll and destruction its strikes cause.
The evidence and analysis show that the Israeli military dropped at least two 2,000-pound bombs on the site. Two impact craters are about 40 feet wide — dimensions consistent with underground explosions that this type of weapon would produce in light, sandy soil, according to a 2016 technical study by Armament Research Services, a munitions research consultancy.
Marc Garlasco, one of the study’s authors, said that the bombs might have had “a delay fuse,” which delays detonation until milliseconds after penetration of the surface or a building so that the explosion's destructive power reaches more deeply.
Mr. Garlasco, who works as a military adviser for the Dutch organization PAX, said it was unclear from visuals alone whether the bombs were equipped with bunker-busting warheads, which are designed to pierce through reinforced military structures. But Israel’s publicly stated objective was to target a Hamas leader in an underground bunker.
Without access to the strike site, The Times was not able to determine whether there were tunnels below.
The only larger bomb in Israel’s arsenal is 4,500 to 5,000 pounds, according to Jeremy Binnie, the Middle East and Africa editor for the defense intelligence firm Janes.
Eighty-three countries, including the United States but not Israel, have signed a commitment to refrain “as appropriate, from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas” because of their likelihood of harming civilians.
“Israel’s continual bombardment of Gaza, including this Jabaliya strike, magnifies this concern many times over,” said Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.
The Israeli military has declined to comment on the number and specific type of weapons it used in Jabaliya. Its public messaging around its repeated strikes on Jabaliya this week, however, has led to some confusion.
In social media posts, the Israeli military claimed that a strike video showed the killing of the head of Hamas’s Anti-Tank Missile Unit on Wednesday. But The Times determined that the footage in fact captured the strike on Jabaliya on Tuesday, which Israel claimed killed a different commander. The military declined to comment on the reason for the discrepancy.
Our Coverage of the Israel-Hamas War
A New Phase in the Conflict: Days after Israeli troops poured into Gaza, Israeli military officials say they have made steady gains against Hamas. But the ground operation is entering a perilous stage, with Israelis soldiers advancing in an urban landscape that is honeycombed with tunnels and home to many Palestinians.
Departures From Gaza: After three weeks of intensive diplomatic negotiations, the first of thousands of foreign-passport holders, aid workers and critically wounded patients in Gaza were allowed to begin evacuating to Egypt.
In the West Bank: As the conflict continues, attacks by Israeli forces and settlers on Palestinians in the territory are surging. Experienced observers believe the spike in violence is part of a broader campaign to scare Palestinians off their land.
Jabaliya Airstrikes: As the densely populated neighborhood continued to be pummeled by Israeli strikes, a doctor at a hospital where many of the casualties from the strikes were being taken described nightmarish scenes on the ground.
The Conflict’s Global Reach
Social Media: Amid angry outpourings and even personal attacks, people are increasingly facing pressure to post about the Israel-Hamas war. The social networks, meanwhile, are being accused of spreading misinformation and hate speech.
A Worldwide War of Words: Iran, Russia and, to a lesser degree, China are using state and social media to support Hamas and undercut Israel, while denigrating Israel’s principal ally, the United States.
Dagestan Riot: A New York Times analysis of Telegram posts shows how a false rumor about the resettlement of Israelis in Dagestan that led to an antisemitic riot at an airport was shared online for longer and more widely than previously reported.
Two-State Solution: The idea of Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in their own sovereign countries is getting a new hearing in foreign-policy circles, with diplomats and analysts saying that the war may breathe new life into it.
Iran: For more than four decades, Iran’s rulers have pledged to destroy Israel. Now Tehran faces a dilemma, weighing how it and its proxy militias should respond to the invasion of Gaza at the risk of igniting a broader regional war.“