Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Belligerent
Country
Libya
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

LC158

Incident date

July 3, 2019

Location

تاجوراء, Tajoura: Detention Center, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.834472, 13.384889 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Between 53 and 80 civilians have reportedly been killed in an airstrike on a migrant detention centre in Tajoura. The incident appears to be the worst single civilian harm event in recent Libyan history.

While most local sources blame the LNA, General Haftar’s army has rejected responsibility and accused the GNA of conducting the strike. Haftar, only days earlier, had announced to ramp up airstrikes following the LNA’s loss of Gheryan.

Reuters reported: “In a statement, the Tripoli-based government blamed the “war criminal Khalifa Haftar” for the incident,” adding that “an LNA official denied that his force had hit the detention centre, saying that militias allied to Tripoli had shelled it after a precision air strike by the LNA on a military camp.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the GNA later accused the United Arab Emirates of conducting the airstrike with an F-16.

A report published by the Libya Herald also points at secondary explosions as the cause for the incident: “Sources in Tripoli said they heard the loud sound of explosions just after 5 am which were followed by a series of other explosions.” It added: “Unsurprisingly, there are conflicting narratives from the two conflicting sides, with the Hafter side saying they had targeted the militia base near the migrant centre and that the exploding ammunition caused the deaths of the migrants.”

The military camp mentioned is located next to the detention center on the outskirts of Tajoura. At the time, the center hosted around 600 migrants with the detention cell hit holding 126 people, most of them Sudanese and Moroccan, according to the Washington Post.

Amnesty International managed to speak to those affected and gave a more detailed account of what supposedly happened: “An Eritrean refugee said a first air strike hit a hangar adjacent to the detention centre, followed by a second strike that hit the men’s cell at the centre itself around five minutes later. Following the attack, up to 300 migrants and refugees – some of whom were returned to Libya after being intercepted in the Mediterranean in recent weeks – are now out in the streets of Tajoura, frightened and waiting for urgent assistance.”

Initial reports put the death toll at 40. However, most sources, such as UNSMIL, currently put the minimum death toll at 44. Additionally, 130 civilians were reportedly wounded. The UN later increased it’s minimum death toll to 53, including six children.

Harun Maruf later tweeted the number of casualties had risen: “An Official in Libya says death toll from airstrikes on migrant detention centre near Tripoli has reached 60.”

Anas El Gomati reported another significant increase to 80 civilians dead and 100 injured.

The incident will be updated once new information becomes available, with casualty numbers likely to rise.

The incident occured at approximately 5:05 am local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    53–80
  • (6 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    100–131
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Libyan National Army (LNA), United Arab Emirates Armed Forces

Sources (64) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • Video showing victims at the hospital
  • Pictures and location of the incident
  • Body allegedly resulting from the airstrike
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Pictures of the victims
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    More pictures of victims being treated
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Video showing the aftermath of the strike
  • Satellitte imgaery from the incident
  • Al Jazeera reporting on the incident
  • Al Arabiya video report
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    More pictures of the incident
  • CCTV footage of the incident

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    53–80
  • (6 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    100–131
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Libyan National Army (LNA), United Arab Emirates Armed Forces

Sources (64) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC052

Incident date

December 5, 2016

Location

سرت‎, Sirte, Libya

Geolocation

31.190547, 16.571441 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Campaign overview: The United States began a major air campaign in support of and at the request of GNA ground forces, to oust ISIS from the city of Sirte.

Complete official records of the US campaign at Sirte – which saw 497 airstrikes on the city to December 5th 2016 – can be found here.

Individual civilian harm allegations are dispersed across the following months.

Overall reported civilian harm for the Sirte campaign: During the 2016 joint US/GNA Sirte campaign, reporting on civilian casualties was extremely scarce, as the GNA/Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces had cut most forms of communication coming from the city while advancing. Single sources occasionally reported civilian harm – but often neither clearly identified the date nor the belligerent for an event, making it hard to clarify whether the US, GNA or ISIS was responsible for the civilian harm.

On November 11th 2016, France 24 quoted Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous spokesman Rida Issa saying: “The subject of civilians is also very dangerous, our fighters hear their screams from houses whenever there is shelling, we do not know their numbers, but they are prevented from leaving, so the remaining area must be treated with great caution.”

On December 16th, Elkul reported on Facebook that the Misurata Central hospital had received 47 injured children and 16 injured women during the whole campaign. He added that 720 GNA fighters were killed and 3,200 injured.

On December 21st MC Doualiya reported that “dozens of bodies are still under the rubble, the smell is very foul and it is feared that it will cause diseases such as plague,” quoting a local citizen, “they were trapped in the rubble. There are terrorists, but also women and children who died of hunger and thirst under the rubble.”

In July 2017 Al Aan TV showed images of refrigerators allegedly containing the bodies of civilians, including women and children, and ISIS fighters killed in the Sirte campaign, estimating them at “hundreds.” Many families reportedly refused to take the bodies of their relatives.

Other sources such as Al Jazeera or Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous also confirmed that bodies of fighters were still under the rubble.
Aghad TV showed images of civilians, including children, being rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings. The report says that 230 bodies of dead fighters were uncovered in the Giza neighbourhood but didn’t elaborate on numbers of civilian casualties.

Afrigate News published a report on September 11th 2017 on the fate of the families of ISIS fighters where it mentioned that eleven bodies of civilians were uncovered from the rubble and 50 people were severely injured.

Note: individual Sirte civilian casualty events are reported on by date where known 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    30–50
  • Civilians reported injured
    63
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA), United States Armed Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Al Aan TV interviewing a woman from Sirte stating that ISIS used civilians as human shields
  • Fatima Troy recounts details of the last days of the Sirte campaign and said that civilians were trying to flee the city
  • Al Aan TV investigates the fate of the bodies of civilians and ISIS fighters in Sirte
  • Images: Alghad TV

Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA)
  • Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    30–50
  • Civilians reported injured
    63
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA), United States Armed Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC039

Incident date

August 12, 2016

Location

بنغازي‎, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.028594, 20.026959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Various sources reported that between 20 and 31 civilians were killed and around 30 more injured as a result of airstrikes in Ganfouda. Two targets appear to have been struck – a residential home and a prison.

While some sources claimed the attack was conducted by an unknown foreign drone, others blame the LNA or France.

Radio Dabanga reported that five members of a Sudanese family were killed when an unidentified air force bombed their home during fighting between rival factions in Benghazi. The Sudanese outlet reported that the civilians were being used as human shields. The victims were named as Mohammed Aduma Mohammed (the father), his wife Safaa Mansour, and children Mohammed Aduma Mohammed, Rania Mohammed and Heba Mohammed.

The Saraya Media Center showed images of the victims on its Telegram channel and said they were killed as a result of their home collapsing after a French airstrike.

As the victims were reportedly mostly Sudanese citizens, Ambassador Qaraballah Al-Khader later condemned the use of his country’s citizens as human shields and their subsequent deaths.

Alnabaa identified the perpetrator as “French” and said the bombing was carried out by “foreign aircraft supporting [General] Haftar.”

The Libya Observer, citing the local Shura council, said 15 prisoners were killed and 30 civilians injured when a jail used to house supporters of “former regime followers” was also bombed. The Observer also blamed “foreign aircraft, in support of Khalifa Haftar.” A later report raised the death toll to 22 with 9 missing. Ewan Libya published a list of those prisoners deceased and missing.

According to Mohamed Abd Alwanis posting on Facebook, in addition, two Shura Council fighters were reported killed in the incident.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

  • Bilal Mohammed Al-Taraki Age unknown
  • Ismail Hamed Al-Rubaie Age unknown
  • Ismail Boujrada Gaddafi Age unknown
  • Abdul Salam Mukhtar Al Ajili Age unknown
  • Zakaria Makhlouf the Turgian Age unknown
  • Lafi Saleh al-Ashebi Age unknown Missing
  • Ali Nasr Grill Age unknown
  • Ahmed Zaghloul Fathallah Age unknown
  • Mohammed Omar Al-Amari Age unknown
  • Abdul Rahman Mohammed Gaddafi Age unknown Missing
  • Ahmed Ali Almagri Age unknown Missing
  • Mahdi Yusuf Mohammed Age unknown
  • Hamed Alturghi Age unknown
  • Mohammed Al-Aqili Age unknown
  • Abdul Latif Ali Al-Darcy Age unknown
  • Adel Salem Nabous Age unknown Missing
  • Mustafa Othman Al-Suway Age unknown
  • Abdulaziz Abdulwahab Al-Hassi Age unknown
  • Khaled Salem Al-Shaeri Age unknown Missing
  • Ibrahim Ali Obeidi Age unknown
  • Khalifa Awad Al-Akouri Age unknown Missing
  • Mohammed Ramadan Al-Nabli Age unknown Missing

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    20–31
  • (3 women1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Libyan National Army (LNA), French Armed Forces

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Saraya Media Center shows the impact of the airstrikes and interviews residents of Ganfouda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Saraya Media Center interviews those injured in the airstrike
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A video shows the aftermath of the airstrike (Source:Al-Tanaseh TV)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Saraya Media Center shows the aftermath of the airstrike and speaks with victims
  • Saraya Media Center speaks with children injured in the airstrike

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

French Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    French Armed Forces
  • French Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    20–31
  • (3 women1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Libyan National Army (LNA), French Armed Forces

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC040

Incident date

August 28, 2016

Location

بنغازي‎, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.028594, 20.026959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Up to 21 civilians were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Benghazi. Three local families were reportedly killed as well as 11 Sudanese workers.

While the majority of sources named the LNA as the belligerent, Libya Mostakbal claimed that is was conducted by a ‘Predator’ drone which isn’t part of the LNA air force. However, UAE drones with a similar silhouette have supported LNA operations.

Libya Mostakbal reported that 11 foreign workers, mostly from Sudan, were killed. It was additionally reported that three Libyan families died. “The family members of the Abdali family, consisting of three children with their father and mother, were killed in full, along with the family of the Feturi, a husband and wife” reported Alnabaa.  Members of the Barassi family were reported missing, while Ajwa claimed a third family had died in the strike.

Several outlets cited the local Shura Council, which reported total of 18 strikes were reported on that day in Benghazi.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    21
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Alnabaa shows footage of the airstrike victims
  • More footage provided by Alnabaa
  • Very graphic: Tanasouh shows the airstrike victims

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    21
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC059

Incident date

February 1, 2017

Location

بنغازي‎, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.028594, 20.026959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two sources reported an LNA airstrike in Benghazi’s Ganfouda neighbourhood. A Twitter source said it hit the 12 Building complex.

The Libya Herald reported that soldiers discovered a mass grave in the heavily sieged area: “Soldiers have also today uncovered a mass grave in Ganfouda which contains an unknown number of bodies. Forensic experts are now examining the corpses, some of which appear to be quite recent. It is unclear if the dead are terrorists, civilians or captured members of the LNA.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    10–20
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Image: Libya Herald

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    10–20
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC074

Incident date

October 30, 2017

Location

درنة‎ حي الفتايح و الظهر الحمر, Al Fatayeh and Dhahr al-Hamr, Derna, Libya

Geolocation

32.733611, 22.645278 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

In the first significant civilian casualty report in several months, various sources said that between 12 and 18 civilians were killed in an airstrike in Al-Fatayih – among them up to eight children and five women. In addition, 25 to 30 people were reported injured in the strike. Most sources claim Egypt was responsible for the attack, while a few also blamed the LNA.

Al Jazeera reported that thousands of residents of Derna paid their respects to the victims of airstrikes that it said were carried out by Egypt – killing 14 and injuring at least 25 more. Photographs showed the gathering and bodies wrapped in coffins. Libya Observer reported the same death and injury totals. The outlet reported that the local Shura Council blamed Egypt, which was backing the LNA as it besieged Derna. The Observer published extremely graphic photographs showing dead children, their bodies split open and covered in dust.

Other reports put the death toll lower. @Libyen_Insider reported that at least 12 were killed, including 5 women and 7 children.
@RassdNewsR reported a total of 17 were killed – mostly women and children – and cited reports blaming the LNA and Egypt. Libya 24 put the death toll at 18, including 8 women.

The UN mission in the country meanwhile reported that at least 12 children and women were killed, along with three male adults. The mission said that four children remained injured.

According to Hathalyoum, the Egyptian Foreign Minister later condemned the bombings and ordered an investigation into the incident.

In November, Alnabaa TV claimed that the UAE was responsible for the attack citing The New Arab. However, the original source can no longer be found.

News English reported 15 people were injured in the attack.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    12–18
  • Civilians reported injured
    15–30
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Egyptian Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • News English shows the aftermath of the airstrike
  • CGTN interviews various officials on the airstrike
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

Egyptian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Egyptian Armed Forces
  • Egyptian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    12–18
  • Civilians reported injured
    15–30
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Egyptian Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (30) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC043

Incident date

October 4, 2016

Location

بنغازي‎, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.028594, 20.026959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Two sources reported that ten civilians were killed as the result of seven LNA airstrikes on Ganfouda.

According to Arabi21, two families were killed, (including three children, their mother and father in one of the families) as well as foreign workers.

Al Jazeera reported that “10 civilians were killed and 32 others, including Arabs and Africans”, were injured in strikes orchestrated by Gen. Haftar. It also noted that “Sources of the Shura Council of Benghazi rebels said that four of its fighters were killed in the bombing while trying to save one of the families that were inside a targeted house,” suggesting a so-called ‘double-tap’ strike.
Green Thought on Facebook said that it was a French-Emirati airstrike and not LNA and posted graphic pictures of the victims.
Aareen Alasood also said it was an Emirati airstrike.

Al Jazeera added that “on Tuesday, six civilians, including three Arab citizens of Egypt and Sudan, were killed and more than 13 others were wounded by indiscriminate mortar fire in the residential district of Sidi Hussein in central Benghazi. Local sources in Benghazi confirmed that the explosion caused extensive damage to civilian buildings and properties.”

Mohammed Bousghama said on Twitter that a field hospital was hit in the attack.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    10–16
  • Civilians reported injured
    45
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    French Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (9) [ collapse]

French Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    French Armed Forces
  • French Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United Arab Emirates Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
  • United Arab Emirates Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Libyan National Army (LNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army (LNA)
  • Libyan National Army (LNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    10–16
  • Civilians reported injured
    45
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    French Armed Forces, United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, Libyan National Army (LNA)

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC110

Incident date

April 11, 2019

Location

السواني, Al-Swani, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.712224, 13.072240 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Between one and 12 civilians were allegedly killed by indiscriminate shelling on Al-Swani.

Tripoli Now reported: “Indiscriminate shelling of innocent people and their homes in Al-Swani axis, which led to the death of two families. Another family was injured and 12 civilians were killed so far.”

Libya Alahrar TV said one civilian was killed in Al-Swani due to shelling by Haftar (LNA) forces. In a video piece it showed the impact of the shelling.

Sputnik News blamed the GNA on the other hand: “Indiscriminate shells targeted civilian homes in the area of ​​Al-Swani southwest of Tripoli by armed forces of the Government of National Accord. The witnesses said that ‘the shells fired indiscriminately on civilian houses in Al-Swani areas in the vicinity resulted in the injury of many civilians.'”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1–12
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–20
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A man allegedly injured by the shelling (via Tripoli Now)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Another man allegedly injured by the shelling (via Tripoli Now)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Another man allegedly injured by the shelling (via Tripoli Now)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Another man allegedly injured by the shelling (via Tripoli Now)
  • Video showing the aftermath of the strike

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1–12
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–20
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.

Sources (5) [ collapse]