Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Belligerent
Country
Libya
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Discounted
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

LC201a

Incident date

September 19, 2019

Location

مرزق, Murzuq, Libya

Geolocation

25.919023, 13.923895 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

The US conducted a rare action against militant targets in Libya in September 2019, striking what it later said was “a terrorist facilitation and meeting location consisting of ISIS-Libya terrorist leadership and militants.”

In April 2020, US Africa Command reported that no civilians were harmed in this action near Murzuq on September 19th, 2019 – which appears to have been confused in some public reporting with a nearby problem LNA/ UAE strike on the same date (see LC201.).

A day after the original airstrike, AFRICOM had released a statement, asserting that “at this time, an airstrike that killed eight (8) terrorists is being assessed. At present, we estimate that no civilians were injured or injured as a result of this airstrike.” The statement also read that the strike was conducted in coordination with the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord.

On April 28th 2020, in its first quarterly civilian casualty report, US Africa Command then reported that “AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Murzuq, Libya, on September 19, 2019.”

The report continued: “After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. On September 19, 2019 a kinetic strike was executed against a compound which U.S. intelligence confirmed was a terrorist facilitation and meeting location consisting of ISIS-Libya terrorist leadership and militants. Significant and multiple sources of intelligence was compiled to clearly identify the nature of the target. It is assessed that civilian casualties did not occur as a result of U.S. military action.”

At the time of the action, 218TV reported that 10 militants had been killed. According to Al Marsad, “a senior intelligence source told the Observatory, preferring to remain anonymous, that one of those killed was the terrorist Ali Al Tabawi”, also known as Abu Hamza Al Tabawi or Ali Al Dernawi. Le Revolution Tchadieen wrote on Facebook that militant Moussa Hajj Azrak also died in the airstrikes.

Airwars has not so far identified any public sources alleging civilian harm in this incident. The source AFRICOM may have confused the incident with alleged LNA/UAE airstrikes on Murzuq on that same day (LC201) in which, according to our records, up to four civilians were killed.

Murzuq News had reported that in total, four air raids were monitored on Murzuq on September 19th, 2019.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Libya
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–10

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • AFRICOM statement on U.S. airstrikes near Murzuq on September 19th, 2019 (via Al Marsad).
  • Footage of confirmed U.S. airstrikes targeted ISIS militants near Murzuq on September 19th, 2019 (via @MMAlwrfly).
  • Translation of tweet: "One of the pages of a Chadian opposition mourns one of their leaders who died yesterday during an American raid on them in the city of Murzuq and he knows that the terrorist militia government the reconciliation government said about them that they are their forces south protection forces and they are originally mercenaries from Chad and terrorists from ISIS." (via @hmGZBUaOxvGAH4x ).
  • Militant Moussa Hajj Azrak was allegedly killed in U.S. airstrikes near Murzaq on September 19th, 2020 (via Le revolution tchadieen).

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    vicinity of Murzuq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Apr 27, 2020
  • September 23, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Murzuq, Libya, on September 19, 201 After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. On September 19, 2019 a kinetic strike was executed against a compound which U.S. intelligence confirmed was a terrorist facilitation and meeting location consisting of ISIS-Libya terrorist leadership and militants. Significant and multiple sources of intelligence was compiled to clearly identify the nature of the target. It is assessed that civilian casualties did not occur as a result of U.S. military action.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

"9. September 23, 2019, AFRICOM received one allegation from an online media source claiming an unspecified number of civilians were killed as a result of a U.S. airstrike in the vicinity of Murzuq, Libya, on September 19, 2019. After review, the allegation was assessed to be unsubstantiated. On September 19, 2019 a kinetic strike was executed against a compound which U.S. intelligence confirmed was a terrorist facilitation and meeting location consisting of ISIS-Libya terrorist leadership and militants. Significant and multiple sources of intelligence was compiled to clearly identify the nature of the target. It is assessed that civilian casualties did not occur as a result of U.S. military action."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Libya
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8–10

Sources (14) [ collapse]