News & Investigations

News & Investigations

Published

May 10, 2022

Written by

Imogen Piper

Number of civilians killed decreases across monitored conflicts, while focus on explosive weapons use grows

Civilian harm dropped across most of the major conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa in 2021, Airwars’ annual report has found.

The number of allegations of civilians killed by nearly all belligerents monitored by Airwars fell in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, though there was an escalation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict which caused significant human suffering.

Read Airwars’ full annual report here

US actions decline

The United States, which has fought multiple campaigns across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia over the past two decades, saw a significant decrease in its activities.

Across all the US campaigns Airwars monitors, including in Syria and Iraq, as well as counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, civilian harm from US actions fell in 2021, continuing a downward trend in recent years.

In Iraq there were no reports of civilian harm from US actions, while in Syria at least 15 and up to 27 civilians were likely killed by US-led Coalition actions in 20 incidents throughout the year – mostly in combined air and ground actions that appeared to target alleged remnant ISIS fighters.

In Yemen at least two civilians were reportedly killed by US strikes during the year while there were no reliable local allegations of civilians likely killed by US strikes in Libya or Pakistan, according to Airwars’ assessment of local sources.

Even taking into account hundreds of airstrikes in Afghanistan which both the Trump and Biden administrations had initially kept secret, 2021 saw the lowest numbers of declared US military strikes globally since 2006.

However, 2021 was also a year in which focus was again placed on civilian harm caused by historic US actions.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist atrocities, Airwars conducted an investigation to estimate how many civilians were likely killed by US forces alone in the subsequent 20 years of the so-called War on Terror. The research concluded that an estimated 22,000 to 48,000 civilians had been killed directly by US actions in two decades of war according to public records –  the vast majority of fatalities were in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.  The findings were cited in the opening remarks of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing “’Targeted Killing’ and the Rule of Law: The Legal and Human Costs of 20 Years of U.S. Drone Strikes,” and were covered by more than 60 news outlets globally, in at least ten languages.

The Pentagon’s troubling management of civilian harm allegations was highlighted by another Airwars investigation during 2021, leading the Pentagon to withdraw and republish their own annual report to Congress. Airwars uncovered nine historic incidents in Iraq and Syria that the US had declared responsibility for killing civilians in, which were actually conducted by US allies including Australia, France, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

Brief but brutal Gaza conflict

In May 2021 an intense and deadly conflict lasting just eleven days erupted between Israeli and Palestinian forces. As on previous occasions, civilians paid the highest price. Airwars documented the human impact of this short but brutal conflict in both Gaza and Israel, working for the first time in three primary languages – Arabic, Hebrew and English.

The research found that Israeli strikes, continually impacting across the densely populated streets of Gaza, led to the likely deaths of between 151 and 192 civilians. Over a third of civilians killed in Gaza were children and in more than 70% of the allegations documented by Airwars, civilians – not militants – were the only documented victims. In Israel, ten civilians were directly killed by rockets fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza.

The report also documented civilian harm from Israeli strikes in Syria, which across eight years had led to the deaths of between 14 and 40 civilians. Comparatively this civilian harm estimate stands in stark contrast to the numbers of those killed in just eleven days. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world, whilst Israeli strikes in Syria were conducted on military targets mostly in sparsely populated areas.

Airwars’ Senior Investigator Joe Dyke partnered with the Guardian on a piece interviewing the residents of a tower destroyed by Israel Defence Forces during the May 2021 conflict. Al-Jalaa Tower was home to dozens of civilians and a number of offices, including those of Associated Press and Al-Jazeera. All were given an hour’s notice to evacuate the tower and scramble together their possessions before seeing their homes destroyed in front of them. The investigation recently won an Amnesty Media Award.

Russian assault in Syria

Long before Russia’s assault on Ukraine in February 2022, Airwars had been tracking civilian harm caused by extensive Russian actions in Syria.

Whilst allegations of civilian harm fell to their lowest rate this year since 2015, after a 2020 ceasefire agreement between Russia and Turkey continued to hold, Putin’s forces continued to strike Idlib and other rebel-held areas of Syria with air and artillery strikes.

Approximately 48% of civilian harm allegations against Russia during 2021 occurred in Idlib, whilst 2% occurred in Hama, and 23% in Aleppo governorate. In total as many as 280 civilians were killed by Russian and/or Syrian regime air and artillery strikes.

This significant but comparatively lower civilian casualty count came alongside Russia’s escalation of military operations in preparation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which has subsequently led to mass civilian harm.

Explosive weapons

An overarching theme throughout Airwars’ work during the year, and a key focus for our advocacy outreach, was on restricting the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA).

Whether in Syria, Iraq, Gaza or any of the other conflicts Airwars monitors, when explosive weapons are used in densely populated areas, the potential for civilian harm dramatically increases.

Throughout 2021, Airwars worked with international partners to support a strongly worded UN-backed international political declaration against the use of EWIPA. The final UN-backed conference debating this declaration will be held in summer 2022, with Airwars playing a key role advocating for change.

▲ An airstrike in Gaza is the front cover image for Airwars' 2021 annual report (Credit: Hani al Shaer)

Published

December 9, 2021

Written by

Airwars Staff

Population density is greatest driver of civilian casualties from strikes in Gaza, Israel and Syria, new study shows.

In just eleven days in May 2021, Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza killed up to 10 times more civilians than the country’s eight-year bombing campaign against Iranian-linked forces in Syria, new Airwars research has found. The study raises critical concerns about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The report – ‘Why did they bomb us?’ Urban civilian harm in Gaza, Syria and Israel from explosive weapons use’ – comprehensively documents the civilian toll of recent Israeli actions in Gaza and Syria, as well as from Palestinian rocket fire into Israel during May. Published jointly in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the 16,000 word report employs Airwars’ standard methodology to examine how, when, and where civilians are killed in urban conflicts.

The report chronicles civilian casualties from two very different military campaigns by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Among the report’s key findings are:

    Across the three conflict areas, both the targeting approach and the population density of those areas bombed were critical drivers of civilian harm, leading to profoundly different outcomes for civilians. In Gaza between 151 and 192 civilians were likely killed as a result of IDF actions in May 2021, mostly in densely populated areas. At least a third of those killed were children. Between 15 and 20 civilian deaths in Gaza were additionally likely to have resulted from Palestinian misfires. 10 civilians were directly killed in Israel in May 2021 resulting from Palestinian militant actions – with most casualties occurring when rockets penetrated Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ defence system and reached cities and towns. In Syria, an extensive IDF air campaign since 2013 has had a far smaller impact on civilians. Israeli strikes have likely killed at least 14 and up to 40 Syrian civilians, with attacks mostly focused on exclusively military targets, away from population centres. Airwars has produced an interactive map showing its findings for Gaza, which can be viewed here. The map allows users to navigate through 128 individual assessments of civilian harm in Gaza, and provides a lasting testimony to the civilian victims of the conflict.

 

Israel’s longtime rival Iran has been active within near neighbour Syria since civil war erupted a decade ago, with Tehran helping to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Beginning in January 2013, Israel has periodically carried out attacks within Syria to counter Iranian entrenchment. Strikes have targeted Iranian and Syrian troops, as well as militias from multiple countries aligned with Tehran.

Airwars has tracked Israeli strikes in Syria for several years as part of its long running monitoring of actions there by all foreign actors. It has now published interactive mapping of all locally reported allegations against Israel in Syria. It’s believed to be the first comprehensive assessment of the civilian toll of an extensive but secretive air campaign.

Airwars researchers also recorded civilian harm from Israeli military strikes during the May 2021 eruption of violence in Gaza, alongside harm caused by rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants.

An image from Airwars’ interactive map of civilian harm in Gaza

Choice of targets

Since 2008 Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fought four major combat operations. Airwars researchers looked at the latest conflict in May 2021 in order to provide comparative data with the more limited civilian harm events being reported from Israeli strikes in Syria.

After compiling all community-reported civilian harm events in the conflicts in Syria and Gaza, Airwars researchers found that one of the critical explainers behind the dramatically different outcomes for civilians was where the IDF chooses to bomb.

According to local reports, the great majority of Israeli actions in Syria have targeted military assets such as air bases, troop convoys and weapons stores, away from major cities and towns. Hundreds of militants were killed in these operations, for the most part in military settings.

In Gaza, the picture was very different. Strikes routinely hit residential neighbourhoods, and militants were frequently targeted in non-military settings: Airwars identified 17 locally reported incidents in which militants were targeted in residential buildings and in which civilians were killed or injured nearby. In those incidents, local reports found that between 27 and 33 civilians were killed, with more than 100 injured. One third of those killed in the Gaza Strip were children.

Airwars also identified between 56 and 68 civilians killed when the IDF targeted what they said was a Hamas militant tunnel network beneath heavily populated areas in Gaza City, leading the buildings above to collapse. Most of the deaths came from a single incident: in the early morning of May 16th, at least 41 civilians were killed in strikes on the residential al-Wahda street, of which up to 18 were children.

Riyad Ishkontana, 42, lost his wife and four of his children in the al-Wahda street attack. He had spent the days leading up to the bombing reassuring the young family they were safe: their building was in an area of professionals and shops, he told them. But in the early hours of the morning, as Ishkontana was out getting snacks, the building was hit. Only one of his children survived. “I wish I never left,” he told The New York Times.

Population density mapping

Airwars also mapped all civilian harm allegations in Gaza, Syria and Israel against population density, and found a second clear driver of civilian harm: the more heavily populated an area, the more civilians were killed.

Airwars’s new landing page comparing Israeli actions in Syria and Gaza

In Gaza, one of the most heavily populated places in the world, more than 1,500 declared Israeli air and artillery strikes hit the territory in just 11 days. This dramatically increased the likelihood of civilian harm. Even within Gaza, there was a clear trend – the more heavily populated a neighbourhood, the more civilians died there.

The trend was also noticeable in Syria. While the scale of civilian harm from IDF strikes was much lower than in Gaza, it is still overwhelmingly located in heavily populated areas. Around 45 percent of estimated civilian casualties from Israeli strikes since 2013 occurred in the capital Damascus. In Israel, 17 of the 33 reported civilian harm incidents resulting from Palestinian rockets also took place in more densely populated areas, Airwars found.

Population density in Gaza may have given some a false sense of security. On May 12th in Gaza, airstrikes killed Reema Saad, who was four months pregnant, alongside her two children and husband. The family had decided to stay in their apartment because they believed the densely populated neighbourhood would be immune from targeting, Reema’s mother Samia told Middle East Eye.

Airwars mapping of population density and reported civilian harm for Gaza, May 2021

Urban deaths part of a global trend

The new findings support what Airwars has found across all conflicts it monitors: that using wide area effect explosive weapons in populated urban areas leads to high levels of civilian deaths and injuries.

This phenomenon is certainly not restricted to actions by the IDF, or by Palestinian militant groups. Indeed, the Gaza campaign in particular can be seen as part of a profoundly worrying trend in which nations and others conduct intensive military actions in urban areas, often with devastating results.

High civilian casualties in Gaza are symptomatic of an escalating and troubling global military trend in the use of wide area effect weapons in populated areas (sometimes known as EWIPA) – seen from Gaza to Mosul, Aleppo to Raqqa, and Tripoli to Kabul. These latest findings lend further urgency to an ongoing international push to restrict their use in a United Nations-brokered Political Declaration by nations, expected to be finalised in early 2022.

“Our latest study corroborates what we have found with other large scale conflicts in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere: even technologically advanced militaries kill large numbers of civilians when attacks focus on urban centres,” Chris Woods, director at Airwars, said. “Despite repeated assurances to the contrary, it’s clear that ‘precision warfare’ cannot sufficiently mitigate civilian harm.”

“Stark differences in civilian deaths and injuries from Israeli actions in Syria and in the Gaza Strip clearly illustrate that the most significant driver of civilian harm remains the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The single most effective way to reduce the number of civilians dying in warfare would be to restrict the use of such dangerous wide area effect weapons on urban centres.”

How the new research was carried out

The Airwars report is the result of months of meticulous research carried out by a team of local language researchers, geolocators and specialist assessors.

Thousands of local media, social media and official sources documenting civilian harm as it happened were identified and archived by Airwars’ team of Arabic-, Hebrew- and English-language researchers in relation to the May 2021 conflict in Gaza and Israel. Researchers also continue to monitor and archive all civilian harm allegations in Syria resulting from Israeli strikes since 2013.

Airwars has then assessed the civilian harm from each incident in Gaza, Syria and Israel using the same standard methodology it applies across all conflicts it monitors. Its approach can best be described as remote, original language hyperlocal monitoring of casualty claims by affected communities – along with a review of broader reports and claims by belligerents, media and other investigators. All assessments are viewed as provisional – that is, any credible new information relating to an event will be subsequently added, potentially affecting our understanding of the incident.

Full resource list

The full report available in English, Hebrew and Arabic

Interactive mapping of civilian harm in Gaza

Video documenting key findings

Full dataset for civilian harm from Israeli strikes in Gaza and Syria

Full dataset for civilian harm from Palestinian rocket fire in Israel

▲ A child uses his mobile device in the ruins of a building in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip on May 26th 2021. © Mohamed Zaanoun

Incident Code

PALIS035

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

بئر السبع, Beersheva, Israel

Geolocation

31.258889, 34.799722 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, including a child, were injured when a rocket, reportedly fired from Gaza, struck the city of Be’er Sheva, in southern Israel on May 20th 2021, according to multiple reports.

Israel media outlet Behadrei Haredim said the Magen David Adom ambulance service attended to a 50-year-old man, injured to his legs, and a 14-year-old girl who fell whilst making her way to a protected area. Both victims were transported to Soroka Hospital and were said to be in a light condition.

Kan News reported the rocket came as part of a wave of strikes against Be’er Sheva and the nearby city of Ofakim. One rocket was intercepted and three fell in an open area, according to the source.

@AviMayer on Twitter, described Hamas as being responsible for the strikes.

Reports about the incident began to surface at approximately 01:00.

The incident occured at approximately 1:00 am local time.

  • Name unknown 14 years old female injured
  • Name unknown 50 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • A number of Israeli settlers were injured while fleeing to shelters in occupied "Beersheba", fearing the rockets of the Palestinian resistance. (Image posted by @RassdNewsN)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Beersheva (באר שבע), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.258889, 34.799722. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

PALIS034

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

بئر السبع, Beersheba, Israel

Geolocation

31.21501329, 34.81241023 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

A rocket struck a factory in an industrial area of Beersheba, Israel on May 20th, 2021 resulting in injuries, according to local reports.

In a video posted by Al Jazeera Arabic several vehicles parked outside the factory were also seen to be damage. Images uploaded by Quds10 show damage to an exterior wall of the factory.

A tweet from Al Jazeera Arabic mentions “injuries caused by rockets falling on the city of Beersheba, launched from the Gaza Strip” but does not identify how many. However, Jerusalem Post reported that all of the rockets that fell on Beersheba hit open areas and no casualties were reported.

Al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for rocket fire targeting the area, posting in Telegram “we renewed the bombing of occupied Be’er Sheva with a missile launch for the third time in half an hour”, added later that “the enemy admits that a number of [settlers] were injured in the recent Qassam bombing of Beersheba”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Damage to a building caused by rockets from Gaza on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @qudsn)

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a warehouse being struck in the industrial area of Beersheba (بئر السبع). Analyzing audio-visual material from sources we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 31.21501329, 34.81241023.

  • Tagged street view imagery from Google Earth

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged panoramic stitch from audio-visual sources

    Imagery:
    @AJArabic

  • Reports of the incident mention a warehouse being struck in the industrial area of Beersheba (بئر السبع).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Palestinian Militants

  • Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 200

13:28
Al-Qassam Brigades renews shelling of occupied Beersheba for the third time in half an hour

13:42
The enemy admits that a number of [settlers] were injured in the recent Qassam bombing of Beersheba


Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 214

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

PALIS033

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

عسقلان, Ashkelon, Israel

Geolocation

31.666667, 34.566667 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

A rocket fired by Al Qassam directly hit a home in Ashkelon, injuring two civilians and causing damage to the building and surrounding area.

Al Qassam claimed responsibility for the attack in a Telegram post that stated at 12:59 “Al-Qassam Brigades bombard occupied Ashkelon with a missile launch” and added at 13:18 “The enemy admits that a [settler] was injured and a building was damaged after the last Qassam bombing of Ashkelon”.

The injured were reported by multiple sources as a 32 year old male victim who was hit on the head by shrapnel whilst inside the house struck by the missile, and a 26 year old male victim who was moderately injured by shards of glass. Both were reportedly taken to Barzilai Hospital for treatment.

The exact time of the incident was not reported, although an MDA tweet published at 3.21pm local time claimed that ‘following the alarms that were sounded in the last minutes in the Ashkelon sector’ the 26 year old injured civilian was taken to Barzilai Hospital.

The incident occured at approximately 4:21 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Damage caused by strikes on Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @mL5tf8Rs4role)
  • Damage caused by strikes on Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @mL5tf8Rs4role)
  • Damage caused by strikes on Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @mL5tf8Rs4role)
  • A picture of the house that was hit directly in Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @Lamapal1948)
  • A picture of the house that was hit directly in Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by Saleh via Facebook)
  • A picture of the house that was hit directly in Ashkelon on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by Moaz7 via Facebook)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Ashkelon (אשקלון), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.666667, 34.566667. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2

Original strike reports

Palestinian Militants

  • Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 200

12:59
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Al-Qassam Brigades bombard occupied Ashkelon with a missile launch

13:18
The enemy admits that a [settler] was injured and a building was damaged after the last Qassam bombing of Ashkelon


Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 214

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Incident Code

PALIS032

Incident date

May 20–21, 2021

Location

بيري, Beeri, Israel

Geolocation

31.423889, 34.489722 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A man was injured in a reported Palestinian rocket attack on the Kibbutz of Be’eri in southern Israel, on May 20th 2021, according to local reports.

The Magon David Adom ambulance service said its staff provided medical care to a 53-year-old man who was transported to hospital in a light condition. Walla News reported the man was injured by shrapnel and gave his age at 59. The rocket struck a printing house in the Eshkol Regional Council, according to Ynet.

The incident occurred in the hours before the start of a ceasefire which came into effect at 02:00, according to Walla News. IDF Spokesman Hedi Zilberman told the source: “In the hours leading up to the ceasefire, we boarded dozens of aircraft into the Gaza Strip at midnight, mainly UAVs and fighter jets, ready to attack dozens of targets.” Mr Zilberman told the source: “We sent a message to Hamas that if there is a significant barrage of fire, we will act. In practice, about 40 rockets were fired. Midnight to 02:00.” According to the spokesperson, 90% of the missiles were aimed at open spaces.

In a post on Facebook, Mohamad Abo Halawah, said the Al-Quds Brigades had released a statement declaring they had targeted the area with several rockets in response to recent enemy attacks. However, we were unable to locate that statement.

The incident occured at approximately 12:00 am local time.

  • Name unknown 53 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Beeri (בארי), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.423889, 34.489722. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

PALIS031

Incident date

May 19, 2021

Location

أوفاكيم, Ofakim, Israel

Geolocation

31.30992556, 34.62417619 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

One person was injured when a rocket struck the city of Ofakim, southern Israel on May 19th 2021, according to local reports.

Shihab news agency quoted “Hebrew sources” saying: “A settler was injured in Ofkim after the resistance fired a wave of missiles.”

The Al Qassam Brigade claimed responsibility for the strike, according to Anadolu Agency. “Al-Qassam Brigades bombed the usurper of the Zionist “Ofkim” with a missile launch” was posted in the Hamas Telegram channel at 18:00 and 18:50 on May 19th.

Kan News reported the rockets struck Ofakim and the nearby city of Be’er Sheva. One rocket was intercepted and three fell in an open area, according to the source.

No further details regarding the identity of the victim were reported.

News of the strike began circulating amongst Arabic media sources at approximately 20:00

The incident occured at approximately 8:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • A settler was injured in "Ofkim" after the resistance fired a missile on May 19, 2021. (Image posted by @zaidaltholaia)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Ofakim (אופקים), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.30992556, 34.62417619. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Palestinian Militants

  • Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 200

18:00
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Al-Qassam Brigades bombed the usurper of the Zionist "Ofkim" with a missile launch

18:50
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Al-Qassam Brigades bombed "Ofkim" with a missile launch


Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 214

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

PALIS030

Incident date

May 19, 2021

Location

سديروت, Sderot, Israel

Geolocation

31.522778, 34.595278 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Five rockets were fired by Al Qassam into the city of Sderot, injuring at least two civilians on May 19, 2021. Al Qassam confirmed that they had attacked the city of Sderot that day.

The rockets reportedly caused damage to several buildings and cars, according to multiple sources. It was reported that either two or three of the rockets directly hit buildings.

The two civilians were reported injured when one of the rockets hit their house whilst they were in the basement with their family. Those injured were a 65 year old man who sustained minor injuries and a 72 year old man who sustained a head injury. According to two sources the 65 year old was treated at the scene, whilst the 72 year old was taken to Barzilai Hospital. One source also reported that a number of civilians experienced anxiety in relation to the attack.

MDA paramedic Alex Kosinov said: “The wounded man was with his family in the basement of the house that was hit by the RCC. We were told that the force of the hit and the blow fell.”

Whilst the majority of sources reported the weaponry used as rockets, three sources claimed that a rocket propelled grenade was used. Multiple sources reported that the attack caused the electricity to cut out.

No sources reported the time of the incident, although the MDA reported that the injured were treated within the window of 12.00am and 9.55pm.

Al Qassam posted on their Telegram channel at 15:47 and 17:25 that the “Al-Qassam Brigades bombed the usurped “Sderot” with a missile launch” and later posted that “The enemy admits that there were injuries, direct damage to a building, and power outages after the recent Qassam bombing of the usurped “Sderot”.

The incident occured between 1:47 pm and 5:25 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Site where a Palestinian rocket directly penetrated a building in Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via PalastineNow)
  • Damage to a building hit by a Palestinian rocket in Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via Shihab)
  • Car damaged by a Palestinian rocket that hit Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via Shihab)
  • Car damaged by a Palestinian rocket that hit Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via Shihab)
  • A man who appears to be from the Home Front Command shines a torch in front of a building hit by a Palestinian rocket in Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via Srugim)
  • Car damaged by a Palestinian rocket that hit Sderot on May 19 2021 (image via Aqsa)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Sderot (שדרות), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.522778, 34.595278 Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Palestinian Militants Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    Palestinian Militants
  • Palestinian Militants position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2

Original strike reports

Palestinian Militants

  • Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 200

19 May 2021
17:25
Al-Qassam Brigades bombed the usurped "Sderot" with a missile launch

15:47
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Al-Qassam Brigades bombard the usurped "Sderot" with a missile launch

17:34
The enemy admits that there were injuries, direct damage to a building, and power outages after the recent Qassam bombing of the usurped "Sderot"


Notice: Undefined variable: has_original_language in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/airwars-new/templates/posts/civ/belligerents.php on line 214

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    Palestinian Militants

Sources (19) [ collapse]