Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Belligerent
Country
Libya
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

Lib2011-162

Incident date

September 15, 2011

Location

الحي رقم 2, Neighbourhood No 2, Sirte, Libya

Geolocation

31.208213, 16.566095 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Between 30 and 64 civilians were allegedly killed in a NATO airstrike on neighbourhood No 2 in Sirte.

Mustafa Al Fitouri wrote in his book, naming 46 civilians: “The seventh air strike took place in Sirte on 15th September at 7pm where the warplanes targeted a gathering of civilian vehicles inside and near it a group of youth civilians and led to killing between 30 and 58 civilians and I were able to documunate number of them.”

Tk Yahrouq Kl shy posted 58 names of which four belong to another incident.

Sirte September 15th martyrs wrote: “On that sad evening, when NATO aircraft bombed a group of young people and children from civilians of the city of Sirte in District No. 2.

The victims of that treacherous attack were 58 young men and children.”

Afrigate News put the death toll at 56.

Salah Traboulsi said 59 people had been killed.

Number 15th martyrs posted a list with 65 names on Facebook, one of them belonging to a different incident.

NATO declared having hit “1 Military Storage Facility, 2 Armed Vehicles, 1 Tank, 4 Multiple Rocket Launchers, 8 Air Missile Systems” near Sirte on that day.”

It later assessed the incident saying: “Multiple vehicles with substantial numbers of associated military personnel on the ground over an extended period.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (11)

Family members (14)

Family members (5)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 64
  • (2 children4 women27 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (69) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Miftah Al-Ammari, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Ahmed Abu Shweishah, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Abdullah Milad Majdoubi Gaddafi, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Ali Hasan Al Mabrouk Al Warfali, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Yusef Arhumah Abusaksa Al-Sulaimani, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Tariq Muhammad Al-Sharif, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Hatem Jibril Souf Al-Droui and Moez Juma'a Souf, allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)
  • Victims allegedly killed by NATO airstrike on Sirte on September 15th, 2011 (via Sirte september 15th martyrs)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the neighbourhood No. 2 (الحي رقم 2) of Sirte (سرت‎), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.208213, 16.566095. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the neighbourhood No. 2 (الحي رقم 2) of Sirte (سرت‎).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO 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

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2011
  • Multiple vehicles with substantial numbers of associated military personnel on the ground over an extended period.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 64
  • (2 children4 women27 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (69) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-081

Incident date

April 30, 2011

Location

الساحة الخضراء, Green Square, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.895377, 13.183859 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

Several members of the Gaddafi family were reported to have been killed by a NATO airstrike on Tripoli.

While Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi, was reportedly a member of the military, his children clearly had non-combatant status due to their young age.

CNN reported: “The Libyan government said Sunday that Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, and three grandchildren died in the strike that destroyed the son’s home in Tripoli. The Libyan government identified the children as Saif al-Arab’s sons Gartaj Hannibal Muammar al-Gadhafi, age 3, and 2-year-old Saif Mohammad al-Gadhafi, as well as Mastoura Hamid Abuzitaia, the daughter of the leader’s daughter Aysha.”

It added that “the building was in a residential area of Tripoli that houses several embassies. Ibrahim called the bombing a “war crime.” The strike destroyed the two-bedroom, single-story house, leaving a massive crater in its place.”

Later, then-Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi casted doubt that Saif al-Arab was actually dead. However his brother’s girlfriend later confirmed his death with The Telegraph.

NATO itself reported that it hit “1 Command & Control Building” and “7 Ammunition Storages” in Tripoli on that day but did not mention civilian harm.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Gartaj Hannibal Muammar al-Gaddafi 3 years old male Son of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi killed
  • Saif Mohammad al-Gaddafi 2 years old male Son of Saif al-Arab Gaddafi killed
  • Mastoura Hamid Abuzitaia Child male Daughter of Aysha Gaddafi killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • A picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)
  • Another picture supposedly from the site of the incident (via Alwatan Voice)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Green Square (الساحة الخضراء)  for which the generic coordinates are: 32.895377, 13.183859. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO 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

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2012
  • This site was a key node for regime-associated forces in Tripoli, and served as an alternate command authority site for the Libyan leadership. The critical element of this facility was the command building. While several VIP buildings and satellite communication dishes were also located at this site, these were neither targeted nor struck. Destruction of the command building degraded the regime command authority’s backup command and control capabilities and in turn its overall military effectiveness. As noted above, civilians and specific individuals were at no point targeted during OUP. Full-motion video acquired by manned aircraft and UAVs at the time of the strike indicated that no civilians were in the target area. In addition, the strike was conducted at night to reduce the possibility that transient personal would be in the target area. Multiple smaller munitions were utilized on. A single building to minimize collateral damage to surrounding buildings within the installation.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

30 April: In Tripoli area: 1 Command & Control Building, 7 Ammunition Storages.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-073

Incident date

April 22, 2011

Location

باب العزيزية, Bab Al Azizia, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.871451, 13.172594 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were reported killed in a NATO airstrike near Tripoli.

Breaking News posted on Twitter: “Libya update: 3 die when NATO airstrike hits parking lot at Gadhafi compound in Tripoli – Govt. spokesman via Reuters.”

Other sources published similar news, referring back to the government spokesperson.

The Huffington post reported that the area was mostly used by the military: “NATO jets hit a target near Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compound in central Tripoli early on Saturday, which the government described as a car park but which Reuters reporters said looked like a bunker.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said three people were killed by the “very powerful explosion” near Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound in the early hours of Saturday.

Reuters said cars were parked on the empty land but the area was surrounded by a wall and guarded by watchtowers and soldiers, suggesting it was not simply wasteland.

Its reporters saw two large holes in the ground, where the bombs had torn through a layer of soil, followed by a layer of reinforced concrete, to pierce what appeared to be an underground bunker.” NATO itself said it struck two bunkers on that day in Tripoli but did not mention civilian harm.

According to independent monitors, throughout the NATO campaign civilian casualty numbers provided by the Gaddafi regime were said to be inflated.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Report by BBC Arabic mentioning civilian casualties in Tripoli

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Bab Al Azizia (باب العزيزية),  for which the generic coordinates are: 32.871451, 13.172594. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO 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

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2011
  • NATO did not target health or water facilities, including those at military sites, at any time during OUP. On 23 April, there were strikes at five separate deliberate targets including command and control and ammunition bunkers. No known health or water facilities were within the target or weapons effects areas, and post-strike battle damage assessment indicated no collateral damage. In addition, 14 dynamic targets (main battle tanks, missile and rocket launchers, tank carriers, other military vehicles and a military command post) were struck in the Misrata and central regions; assessment by the aircraft delivering the weapon immediately following these strikes gave no indication of collateral damage.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In Tripoli: 2 command and control bunkers.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-092

Incident date

May 13, 2011

Location

مرسى البريقة, Brega, Al Wahat, Libya

Geolocation

30.411123, 19.570076 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Between 11 and 16 civilians were reported killed in a NATO airstrike on Brega.

Both the BBC and the Washington Post said that eleven clerics were killed in the attack, while Reuters noted that “Nine imams were among 11 people killed in a strike on a guest house in the eastern city of Brega on Friday, the government said. The other two were buried elsewhere.”

Libyan State TV was reported to have declared that 16 civilians were killed in the attack. And the Express Tribune added that 50 people were allegedly wounded.

Al Jazeera wrote: “On Friday, a Libyan military source said that 16 people were killed and 30 wounded in the NATO raid on a guesthouse in Buraiqa, when at the time of the raid dozens of clerics came to attend a celebration. On Friday, Libyan state television showed scenes of nine bodies with several injuries.”

Reuters and The Express Tribune additionally quoted NATO officials commenting on the allegation: “Command and control bunker was struck in Brega early this (Friday) morning, as the structure was being used by the Qaddafi regime to coordinate strikes against the Libyan civilian population.

We are aware of allegations of civilian casualties in connection to this strike and although we cannot independently confirm the validity of the claim we regret any loss of life by innocent civilians when they occur.”

The Eg-11 Blog posted the following: “A spokesman for the Libyan revolutionaries, Ahmed Bani, denied, on Friday, that any civilian had been killed due to the bombing by NATO fighter jets in the city of Brega.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    11 – 16
  • (9–11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Brega (البريقة), for which the generic coordinates are: 30.411123, 19.570076. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO 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

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2012
  • The Marsa El Brega Residence and Command Bunker Facility served as the primary C2 facility for forces fielded by the 32d Brigade in and around Brega. It was deliberately targeted and struck on 13 May. During engagement of the target, it was positively identified and four precision-guided munitions were dropped. The strike was highly effective, and decisively degraded command and control in the Brega area. Battle damage assessment indicated no collateral damage. After this strike, an engineer who had been involved in the design and construction of the command bunker facility publicly confirmed that it had been constructed for Col. Gaddafi and had been purpose built for command and control functions.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In the vicinity of Brega: 2 Tanks.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    11 – 16
  • (9–11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-111

Incident date

June 19, 2011

Location

بيت علي مخر الغراري, House of Ali Mukhar Al Gharari, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.881658, 13.291822 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Between five and nine civilians were reported killed in a NATO airstrike on Tripoli. NATO later acknowledged likely causing civilian harm in the event.

Amnesty gave a detailed account of the incident in its Libya investigation: “On 19 June 2011 at about 1.30 am the home of Mukhtar al-Gharari, located in a densely built-up area of the Souq al-Juma’a district of Tripoli, was struck, killing five family members and injuring eight others. Those killed are Mukhtar al-Gharari’s 48-year-old son Faraj; his 38-year-old daughter Karima; her 44-year-old husband ‘Abdallah Nimr Shihab; and their two children, Jomana and Khaled, aged two years and seven months respectively.

“Surviving members of the family told Amnesty International that 18 family members were sleeping in the house at the time of the attack and that those who were killed had been sleeping on the upper floor. In a letter to the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Libya (ICIL) of 23 January 2012, NATO referred to the above incident and acknowledged the possibility that ‘an errant weapon had caused such casualties.'”

Human Rights Watch also published a detailed investigation: “At around 1:15 a.m. on June 19, 2011, a NATO air strike hit the three-story home of the al-Gherari family, in a residential neighborhood of Souk al-Juma, one of Tripoli’s larger districts. The attack killed five people, according to witnesses and family members interviewed by Human Rights Watch, who provided photographs of the victims, as well as one death certificate and three burial permissions. At least eight people were also wounded, the family said.

Human Rights Watch visited the site in August and December of 2011 and did not see any evidence of military activity such as weapons, ammunition, or communications equipment which might have indicated the building was a legitimate military target, although such evidence could have been removed. The family and neighbors all said that no Gaddafi forces were operating from the area at the time of the attack.”

The BBC reported that “Libya has accused Nato of killing at least five people in an airstrike that hit a house in the capital Tripoli.”

The Straits Times posted on Twitter: “Nato says it ‘regrets’ its 1st civilian casualties in Libya after botched airstrike that killed 9, including 2 toddlers.”

According to CBS News, “Libya’s government said NATO warplanes struck a residential neighborhood in the capital Sunday and killed nine civilians, including two children, adding to its accusations that the alliance is striking nonmilitary targets.”

A video piece by BBC Arabic later said nine civilians were killed and 18 injured. And Al Jamal reported members of a Syrian family had been killed.

In August 2011, NATO conceded that it had likely harmed civilians in the attack, noting that: “The Tarabulus SA-2 Support Facility was an active military storage and support site directly supporting regime forces in the region with military equipment as well as efforts to reconstitute air defence capabilities throughout Libya. It was struck on three separate occasions, targeting at least ten separate buildings and bunkers. During the 19 June target engagement in question, the targeted structures were positively identified and two precision-guided weapons were dropped.

“The second of these two weapons appears to have malfunctioned due to laser guidance problems, its impact was not observed and NATO was not able to determine where it in fact landed. After reviewing the case, it was concluded that it was possible that the errant weapon had caused such casualties. A public statement was made at the time by the OUP commander acknowledging this possibility and expressing regret for any casualties that may have resulted. This incident is under further assessment.”

Airwars later contacted Mohammed Al-Gharari for an investigation: “In desperation, he eventually traveled to Brussels, home to NATO headquarters. He paid a Belgian lawyer thousands of euros in a futile attempt to find out what the alliance knew about his family’s tragedy—including which nation had killed them. The money is long gone, but that information remains classified. Yet as Weighill noted, the nation that conducted the strike which killed Gharari’s family had internally admitted, almost immediately, that the operation ‘didn’t go well.'”

The incident occured between 1:15 am and 1:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (12)

  • Faraj al-Gharari 48 years old male Son of Mukhtar al-Gharari killed
  • Karima al-Gharari 38 years old female Daughter of Mukhtar al-Gharari
  • Abdallah Nimr Shihab 44 years old male Husband of Karima al-Gharari killed
  • Jomana 2 years old female Grandchild of Son of Mukhtar al-Gharari killed
  • Khaled 1 years old male Grandchild of Son of Mukhtar al-Gharari killed
  • Mohammed Ali Al Ghrari 35 years old male injured
  • Amer Ali Al Ghrari 37 years old male injured
  • Mohammed Salem Al Ghrari Adult male Husband of Kareema injured
  • Fatima Ali Al Turki 0 years old female injured
  • Sou’ad Ali Al Ghrari 0 years old female injured
  • Latifa Al Hadi Al Habashi 45 years old female injured
  • Zaytouna Mouhtar Karkam 42 years old female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 9
  • (2 children1 woman2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    18
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • BBC Arabic report on the incident
  • Mukhtar al-Gharari shows his home that was allegedly destroyed by a NATO airstrike on une 19th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Home allegedly destroyed by a NATO airstrike on une 19th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Home allegedly destroyed by a NATO airstrike on une 19th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Home allegedly destroyed by a NATO airstrike on une 19th, 2011 (via Mustafa Al Fetouri)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the house of Ali Mukhar Al Gharari (علي مخر الغراري) being struck, within the neighbourhood of Souq Al Juma ( سوق الجمعة ), the exact location of which has been published by Human Rights Watch. The coordinates are: 32.881658, 13.291822.

  • Reports of the incident mention the house of Ali Mukhar Al Gharari (علي مخر الغراري) being struck, within the neighbourhood of Souq Al Juma ( سوق الجمعة ), the exact location of which has been published by Human Rights Watch.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO forces 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.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Other
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Aug 3, 2011
  • The Tarabulus SA-2 Support Facility was an active military storage and support site directly supporting regime forces in the region with military equipment as well as efforts to reconstitute air defence capabilities throughout Libya. It was struck on three separate occasions, targeting at least ten separate buildings and bunkers. During the 19 June target engagement in question, the targeted structures were positively identified and two precision-guided weapons were dropped. The second of these two weapons appears to have malfunctioned due to laser guidance problems, its impact was not observed and NATO was not able to determine where it in fact landed. After reviewing the case, it was concluded that it was possible that the errant weapon had caused such casualties. A public statement was made at the time by the OUP commander acknowledging this possibility and expressing regret for any casualties that may have resulted. This incident is under further assessment.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In the vicinity of Tripoli: 1 Military Vehicle Storage Facility, 2 Surface-To-Air Missile Guidance Radars.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 9
  • (2 children1 woman2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    18
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-114

Incident date

July 20, 2011

Location

صرمان, Surman, Zawiya, Libya

Geolocation

32.756242, 12.525755 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Between 13 and 19 civilians were reportedly killed in a NATO airstrike on Surman.

The New York Times published a detailed report of the event: “The Qaddafi government used the strike for propaganda purposes. It claimed as many as 19 civilians were killed and put up portraits of the victims across Tripoli. Khaled offered a slightly different count, saying 13 civilians were killed and six wounded. Among the dead, he said, were his wife, two children and one of his nieces. Local anti-Qaddafi guards, who had no sympathy for the Hamedis, corroborated those deaths and said members of their families had seen the children’s bodies immediately after the attack. The other deaths could not be confirmed, in part because the victims and the family were scattered by the war.”

Human Rights Watch investigated the incident on the ground: “In the early morning of June 20, 2011, NATO air strikes hit the large, walled farm of a former member of Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Council, Maj. Gen. el-Khweldi el-Hamedi, in the town of Sorman 70 kilometers west of Tripoli. The strikes apparently killed eight family members and five staff—in total four men, four women and five children. Family members and staff told Human Rights Watch that el-Khweldi el-Hamedi had retired from military and political life and was not at the farm at the time of the attack. One family member said that NATO had also struck el-Khweldi el-Hamedi’s office in Tripoli, showing Human Rights Watch a photograph of a large damaged building. Human Rights Watch did not inspect that site. NATO strikes also destroyed a post office and an adjacent building next to a large communications tower just outside the farm.The post office and a building next to it, both alongside a large communications tower, were destroyed The post office and a building next to it, both alongside a large communications tower, were destroyed The post office and a building next to it, both alongside a large communications tower, were destroyed.”

It added: “Human Rights Watch visited the el- Hamedi farm on August 11, 2011, under the supervision of a Gaddafi government minder. In three large villas that were hit, Human Rights Watch found no evidence of military activity, although such evidence could have been removed. At one of the destroyed villas, Human Rights Watch found remnants of a munition apparently dropped by NATO, but the type of weapon could not be determined.”

The pro-Gaddafi blog “Libyan Revolutionary Committees Movement” published another detailed report: “Khalid al-Khuwaildi al-Humaidi, President of the International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief (IOPCR), sued NATO for its “crimes” against Libyan civilians. He, alone, lost 13 members of his family because of the bombing, including two of his sons, his pregnant wife, his niece, aunt and a cousin. Members of the same family, including his mother, father, sisters and relatives who were at home were also injured.”

David McKenzie said: “15 people killed in NATO airstrike west of Tripoli before dawn according to hospital staff and our own count.”

The BBC also reported 15 civilian deaths.

Bani Walid said 18 civilians died in the attack.

Al Jazeera put the death toll at 19, quoting a Gaddafi regime spokesperson.

Amnesty International quoted NATO Wing Commander Mike Bracken saying: “In the early hours of Monday morning [20 June] NATO carried out a precision strike using precision-guided weapons on a highly-significant command-and-control node in the Surman area near Zawiya. The facility was directly involved in coordinating systematic attacks on the Libyan people and was identified through rigorous analysis based on persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and this was carried out over a prolonged period of time. NATO is aware of allegations that this strike caused casualties. That is something we cannot independently verify, but I say again, this was a legitimate military target, a high-value, command-and-control node used to coordinate attacks against civilians. We observed the site over a prolonged period of time before conducting the precision strike which minimized any potential risk of causing unnecessary casualties.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (6)

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13 – 19
  • (5 children4 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    NATO forces

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (22) [ collapse]

  • Video showing the victims of the strike
  • Another report on the event
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    First part of a documentary about the event
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Second part of the documentary
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Third part of the documentary
  • French report about the incident
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Another report in French
  • A video report in Arabic
  • A video report showing the funeral
  • Another video report in Arabic
  • Pictures of the victims (via Libyan Revolutionary Committees Movement)
  • Pictures of the victims of a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Libyan Revolutionary Committees Movement)
  • Pictures of Khweldi Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Pictures of Khweldi Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Khalida Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Khalida Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Khalida Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Khalida Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Khalida Khaled el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Al Rassed Al Liby)
  • Najia Belqasem el-Hamedi, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Alkhaldoon)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Amina and Aimra Essam Jomaa, allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Alkhaldoon)
  • Pictures of the victims of a NATO airstrike on Surman on June 20th, 2011 (via Executive Office of the General Association of Prisoners, Detainees, Martyrs and Missing Persons)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the house of Maj. Gen. Al Khweldi Al Hamedi (مجمع الخويلدي الحميدي السكني) being struck, within the neighbourhood of Surman (صرمان‎), the exact location of which has been published by New York Times. The exact coordinates are: 32.756242, 12.525755.

  • Reports of the incident mention the house of Maj. Gen. Al Khweldi Al Hamedi (مجمع الخويلدي الحميدي السكني) being struck, within the neighbourhood of Surman (صرمان‎), the exact location of which has been published by New York Times.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO forces position on incident
    Open incident
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2012
  • The compound included a number of command and control buildings as well as an ammunition storage facility. Between 20 and 30 satellite communication dishes were observed in the compound and on the buildings, along with a lattice tower aerial immediately across the street. The compound was at an isolated location outside Tripoli and was guarded by checkpoints, guards and patrol vehicles forming several rings of security around the facility. Although a school and mosque were located in close proximity to the target, aerial surveillance identified no civilians in the area. The target was struck at night to minimize any possibility of casualties to transient civilians; for similar reasons the ammunition dump and other military objects located on the site were also not struck.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13 – 19
  • (5 children4 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    NATO forces

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-131

Incident date

July 30, 2011

Location

طرابلس‎, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.886602, 13.190912 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Three journalists were reportedly killed in a NATO airstrike on Tripoli.

SBS News tweeted: “Three journalists have reportedly been killed in a NATO air strike while on state television in Libya.”

Uruknet wrote: “Libya says three journalists have been killed in a NATO air strike on state television, and that the murder of the rebels’ army chief proves al-Qaeda is instigating the country’s armed revolt.

‘Three of our colleagues were murdered and 15 injured while performing their professional duty as Libyan journalists,’ said Khaled Basilia, director of Al-Jamahiriya television’s English-language service.”

NATO later published a statement on the incident: “A few hours ago, NATO conducted a precision airstrike that disabled three ground-based Libyan state TV satellite transmission dishes in Tripoli. The strike, performed by NATO fighter aircraft using state-of-the art precision guided munitions, was conducted in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, with the intent of degrading Qadhafi’s use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them.

Our intervention was necessary as TV was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them. Qadhafi’s increasing practice of inflammatory broadcasts illustrates his regime’s policy to instill hatred amongst Libyans, to mobilize its supporters against civilians and to trigger bloodshed.

In light of our mandate to protect civilian lives, we had to act. After due consideration and careful planning to minimize the risks of casualties or long-term damage to television transmission capabilities, NATO performed the strike and we are now in the process of assessing its effect. Striking specifically these critical satellite dishes will reduce the regime’s ability to oppress civilians while at the same time preserve television broadcast infrastructure that will be needed after the conflict.”

Amnesty International wrote on that matter that it “did not have the opportunity to monitor and analyse the full content of Libyan state television broadcasts when it was under the control of Colonel al-Gaddafi, but the question of whether Colonel al-Gaddafi is using television broadcasts to instil hatred and mobilize its supporters is not the determining criteria for whether television transmitters are military objectives. The definition of military objective in Article 52(2) of Protocol I, which reflects customary IHL, specifies that ‘military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage#. Propaganda is not ‘an effective contribution to military action’ and it is difficult to consider that the destruction of the transmitters offers ‘an anticipated definite military advantage’.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Video report from Libyan state TV on the incident

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Tripoli (طرابلس‎), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.886602, 13.190912. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO 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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Mar 8, 2012
  • Transmission dishes belonging to Libyan State Television were deliberately targeted and destroyed to prevent their continued use to incite regime supporters to violence against civilians. This transmission station was a key element in broadcasting such incitement by regime leaders. Although the target had earlier been rejected because of the rhetoric broadcast over it did not at that time reach the threshold of incitement to violence, speeches made in early July reached a new level of intensity and focus. It should also be noted that the crimes against humanity (including murder and persecution) for which the International Criminal Court (ICC) had in late July indicted Col. Gaddafi and other senior regime members corresponded closely to the actions incited via the Libyan State Television transmission station. The target was struck at night, on a particular heading, to minimise any chance of injury to civilians. The dishes were targeted precisely and with low-intensity weapons to minimise the risk of collateral damage and to avoid broader disruption to the Libyan communications infrastructure. Battle damage assessment indicated that these precautions were fully successful in avoiding such injury or damage.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Anti-Aircraft systems

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-135

Incident date

August 5, 2011

Location

مسكن مصطفى ناجي المرابط, Mustafa Naji Al Morabit, Murqub, Libya

Geolocation

32.472842, 14.489344 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Two children and their mother were allegedly killed in a NATO airstrike on Zliten.

The Telegraph said: “Residents from the town said the strike happened just after 6am, killing brothers Mohammed, three, and Moataz, five, and their mother Ibtisam.

Moussa Ibrahim, Libyan government spokesman, accused Nato of bombing civilian targets frequently.

He said: In the city of Zlitan, you saw with your own eyes the dead bodies of small children and their mother, there are many other examples around the country.

‘Unfortunately we are only able to take you to some scenes of these crimes, these take place everyday, sometimes whole families are killed, sometimes individuals.’

The Ministry of Defence said it had carried out air strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday against buildings, staging posts and a tank being used by Gaddafi forces near Zlitan.”

NDTV reported on a possibly related strike in the area without mentioning civilian harm: “A senior Libyan government official has denied rebel reports that Moammar Gaddafi’s youngest son was killed in a NATO airstrike on the western town of Zlitan.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim says Khamis Gaddafi is alive and spoke to Libyan government officials to confirm his well-being.”

An Amnesty International report later found: “On 4 August 2011 at about 6.30am the home of Mustafa Naji al-Morabit, in Zlitan west of Misratah, was struck, killing his 37-year-old wife, Ibtisam, and two of his three children, three-year-old Mo’taz and six-year-old Mohammed, as well as injuring his 60-year-old mother, Fatima ‘Omar Mansur. According to information provided by Mustafa Naji al-Morabit to Amnesty International, a nearby house (approximately 50 metersaway) had been used, until 1 August 2011, for meetings by military officers. Because they feared that the nearby house may be attacked by NATO, Mustafa Naji al-Morabit and his family had not been sleeping in their own home. They remained in the house during the day as it was common belief that NATO strikes were carried out at night. As opposition fighters were closing in on the area, the owner of the nearby house and others who had been meeting there fled by 2 August 2011, leaving the front gate wide open – a sign that they were not going to return. The al-Morabit family decided that it was therefore safe to return to their home and slept in their home for the first time on the night between 2 and 3 August 2011. The night passed without incident and the nearby house remained abandoned and the al-Morabit family again slept in their home the following night (between 3 and 4 August 2011), but the house was struck in the early hours of that morning.”

The NGO added: “In its 15 February 2012 letter to the ICIL, NATO referred to the above incident stating that the site was in fact struck on 4 August 2011, because it had been identified as ‘a senior regime commander’s command and control node located within a residential property’. Based on its examination of the site, interviews with witnesses and satellite images the ICIL found that ‘evidence suggests NATO hit the wrong building (and) that those killed were civilians’. Amnesty International reached the same conclusions.”

A Human Rights Watch investigation quoted the father saying: “Around 6:30 a.m., I heard an explosion, a terrible sound. I got up, and dust was falling all over; I couldn’t see in front of me. I was trying to reach my children and family, but I kept falling down. I reached the main road, and with the help of neighbors, we tried to lift the blocks and reach my family.

The first one we reached was my wife; we found her dead in her place. And then we got to my mother who was still alive, wounded in the left leg and right shoulder. Then we found [my son] Naji, who was alive. Mohamed, five years old, we found next to him still alive. I had no strength to continue and looked to others to save my family. They took Mohamed to the hospital, but he died before he got there; they say he suffocated from the dust. Then they found [my other son] Moataz, three years old. His brain was out of his head; I saw it. My house is demolished. My children are dead.”

The report added: “Al-Morabit and neighborhood residents initially said that no Gaddafi forces were in the area at the time of the attack. But in a subsequent interview on December 7, 2011, without the presence of a government minder, they said that the house next door had housed Gaddafi military personnel until August 2, two days before the attack. At the al-Morabit house itself, they said, they knew of no military equipment or personnel. A Human Rights Watch inspection of the house and yard on August 7 revealed no signs of military activity or material; however, evidence of a military target could potentially have been moved.

According to al-Morabit and two neighbors, interviewed separately, Libyan military personnel had used the large house next door to the al-Morabit house since late June. When the personnel moved into the house, al-Morabit said, he and his family began sleeping at his brother’s house, fearing a NATO attack in the area. He did not know how many military personnel and from which forces had moved into the neighboring house.”

NATO reported hitting “1 Military Radar Site, 1 Military Storage Facility” in Zliten on August 5th in its operational update.

The incident occured at approximately 6:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Destroyed Morabit family home in Zliten after NATO airstrike on August 5th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Killed Morabit family members after NATO airstrike in Zliten on August 5th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Killed Morabit family members after NATO airstrike in Zliten on August 5th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • Killed and injured Morabit children after NATO airstrike in Zliten on August 5th, 2011 (via Amnesty International)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The three victims of the the NATO strikes on the Morabit family home in Zliten on August 4th, 2011 (Youssef Shaftar)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the house of Mustafa Naji Al Morabit (مسكن مصطفى ناجي المرابط) being struck, within the city of Zlitan (زليتن), the exact location of which has been published by New York Times and Human Rights Watch. The exact coordinates are: 32.472842, 14.489344.

  • Reports of the incident mention the house of Mustafa Naji Al Morabit (مسكن مصطفى ناجي المرابط) being struck, within the city of Zlitan (زليتن), the exact location of which has been published by New York Times and Human Rights Watch.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO forces position on incident
    Under investigation
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

NATO forces
  • Jan 8, 2012
  • This target had been identified as a regime senior commander’s command and control node, located within a residential property four miles west of Zlitan. At no time were civilians intentionally targeted. The target building and buildings immediately adjacent to it were used exclusively by senior regime commanders as an active command and control facility directing forces in the Zlitan area. The structure was positively identified and one precision guided weapon was dropped on 4 August. Review of intelligence confirms that the correct and intended building was struck, and assessment of the claimed civilian casualties at the time concluded that this was highly unlikely. This incident is under further assessment.

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In the vicinity of Zlitan: 1 Military Radar Site, 1 Military Storage Facility.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (24) [ collapse]