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U.S. Forces Begin Using “Roof Knocking Tactic” To Avoid Civilian Casualties During Airstrikes

April 28, 2016

The United States military, in an effort to limit civilian casualties during airstrikes, is adopting a “roof knocking” tactic that was originally used by Israeli forces. The purpose of the tactic is to give a warning to civilians that an airstrike is coming.


The tactic was first used by the U.S. forces when targeting ISIS in the city of Mosul, Iraq. U.S. warplanes flew over an ISIS cash center on April 5th, 2016 during an airstrike and used the tactic to scare civilians out of the cash center.

During the roof knocking tactic, a Hellfire missile is sent into the vicinity of the target. The missile goes off above the area and creates an airburst.

The building, according to U.S. intelligence, had as much as $150 million housed in the location for ISIS to use as a part of its “emir of finances”. Before the strike occurred, there was a woman and child in the building. The hellfire missile went off and scared the people out of the building. Air Force Major Peter Gersten, Deputy Commander for Operations and Intelligence for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said “We absolutely did see the woman and child leave. Men in that building literally trampled over her to get out of the building.”

For unknown reasons, the woman re-entered the building seconds after the bomb had been dropped and she is almost certain believed to be dead. Even though the tactic was not fully effective in avoiding all civilian casualties, Gersten said that they “could employ the roof knock technique again in the future.”

But in war, civilians that stay in the war zone do so at their own risk.

The U.S. military acknowledges the death of 41 civilians, while human rights groups have reported over 1,000 civilian deaths since the United States began the air campaign back in 2014.

The controversial roof knocking technique was used back in 2014 during the Gaza War by Israeli military, but it was deemed ineffective by a United Nations Commission last year. The commission stated that the technique caused too much confusion and did not give civilians the proper amount of time to escape the area.

Do you think U.S. forces should be using the “roof knocking” technique? What are your thoughts on their effectiveness? Let us know in the comments below.