Here’s What Israel’s “Knock-Knock” Bombing Tactic in Gaza Looks Like

Opportunity never knocks twice. Israeli rockets, on the other hand, do. And you don't want to be around for number two

As of early Monday, Israel said that it had hit 1,474 terrorist targets in Gaza with either rockets or air raids. One of the most talked about phenomena in this offensive is the “knock-knock” bomb, in which a lighter, precursor, nonexplosive round hits the intended target, giving the occupants a minute or thereabouts to vacate the premises before it is flattened with the follow-up ordnance. The initial round is intended to be nondestructive, but several groups have claimed that it has been, in fact, responsible for deaths and injury. Videos of the bombings have accumulated on YouTube over the last five days.

Israel claims that militants are hiding among the civilian population, which they say justifies their targeting of premises in residential areas. Much of the current messaging from military spokespeople points to assertions that Hamas are content to hide in plain sight and put those around them at risk.

The warning strikes, therefore, are hailed as a humane way to allow civilians escape with their lives, used by Israel as a means to avoid so-called collateral damage. The warnings give just enough time for able-bodied people to escape, but not enough that they could, in theory, dismantle any apparatus or resources they were hiding in the property. For the civilian occupants, if they do manage to get out safely before the bombs strike, they will be spared death, but become instantly homeless, with most of their worldly possessions destroyed. That’s the price you pay, say the Israeli Defence Forces, for collusion with a force that lobs indiscriminate rocket attacks at Israel.

Although some homes have been damaged by Hamas-launched rockets in Israel, there have yet to be any civilian casualties on the Israeli side from the rocket assaults, largely thanks to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The death toll in Gaza had passed 170 at time of posting.

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