The laws of war specify that undefended places should not be attacked.
The extremely varied uses of the term have radically different legal implications within international humanitarian law.
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Civilian property may not be targeted simply for the sake of destroying it; it must constitute a legitimate military objective.
Areas dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, house or school, should not be targeted.
Any military advantage must be “justified” or “necessary” by its collateral damage.
Hospitals have a special protected status under international humanitarian law.