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Collateral damage is a broad notion that includes any incidental damage to civilians, their property, and the environment in which they live, even though the concept is mostly employed to refer to unintended injury and the killing of noncombatants in war. Collateral damage may be caused not only by traditional military operations like bombing and kinetic actions but also by embargoes and economic sanctions, which can produce even more devastating effects on the civilian population than actual warfare, as happened to the Iraqi people in the aftermath of the Gulf War (1990–1991). Not every killing or injury to noncombatants is an instance of collateral damage. When civilians are wantonly and deliberately targeted by armed forces or militias, there is no collateral damage but rather what ...

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