Israel did not continue to use the “knock on the roof” tactic to warn of air strikes, causing many civilians in Gaza not to have time to evacuate.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced on October 10 “removing restrictions” in the war with Hamas, emphasizing that Tel Aviv will use all necessary measures to destroy the enemy.
One of the moves taken by the Israeli military after this announcement was to stop implementing the “knock on the roof” tactic, which was applied to limit civilian casualties in air strikes against the Gaza Strip.
The “knock on the roof” tactic has been around since 2009, in which the Israeli military drops small, non-explosive training shells on the target building about 10 minutes before launching a large-scale air strike. This helps alert civilians inside, allowing them enough time to evacuate safely.
The Israeli Air Force implemented this tactic when it warned residents of Palestine Tower in advance on October 7. After civilians in the 14-story tower evacuated, Israeli fighters repeatedly launched bullets to knock down the building in response to a large-scale attack by Hamas.CNN today quoted a series of people in the Gaza Strip saying they were not warned before the Israeli army attacked their buildings. This seems to be one of the reasons why more than 950 Palestinians have been killed and about 5,000 injured in Israeli attacks since October 7.
Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Richard Hecht later also confirmed the information. “Hamas also did not warn before attacking civilian targets. This is war; the scale of conflict is completely different,” he said.
Hecht said that it is difficult to distinguish between military and civilian targets in raids on the Gaza Strip. “Multiple-inhabited buildings could also be a hideout for Hamas commanders or a place where this group hides weapons,” he said.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated regions in the world, with 2.3 million Palestinians living in an area of about 365 square kilometers. This area depends on supplies from outside Israeli territory.
The Israeli army has completely blockaded the Gaza Strip and cut off electricity, water and food supplies. The United Nations and the European Union say Israel has the right to respond to Hamas, but call on the country to comply with international law, which prohibits any complete blockade of areas inhabited by civilians.