AFRICOM reported that it conducted a precision strike on ISIS near Bani Walid. While the US itself said that 4 members of the organisation were killed in the attack, including senior member Abdul-Ati Eshtewi, on a vehicle, local sources reported that three of the people in the car were actually civilians.
Alrseefa reported: “Reconciliation in Tripoli is a violation of human rights and the fate of the Libyan citizen, where the operation resulted in the killing of three innocent citizens have nothing to do with ISIS, […] note that these young people:
Matouq Saad Milad Yaga
Mohammed Wanis Abusta
Selim Mohammed Al-Drouei
do not carry any radical thought.”
Marsad reported: “The same source told Al-Marsad that Eshtewi was killed by the raid in the Wadi al-Baqayla area west of the Shamikh area, referring to the killing of three young men with relatives who are not belonging to ISIS calling during their presence in the same car targeted by the bombing by an unknown aircraft.
Libya Observer reported: “Meanwhile, a source from Bani Walid confirmed to The Libya Observer that three civilians and one ISIS fugitive – all from Bani Walid – were killed in the airstrike.” It added: “‘Eshtewi and his three relatives haven’t seen each other for a long time, so Eshtewi contacted them using Thuraya phone to have Ramadan Iftar with them in Eshmikh, some 35 km south of Bani Walid town.’ The source said. The three civilians were identified as Matouq Milad, Mohammed Abu Sittah and Salim Daroue.”
While AFRICOM only reported the strike was conducted near Bani Walid, local sources said it was in Shumaykh, 35km south of Bani Walid.
On June 20th AFRICOM published a statement on the civilian harm allegation saying: “In coordination with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), U.S. forces conducted a precision airstrike near Bani Walid, Libya, on June 6, killing four (4) ISIS-Libya militants, as previously released.
Following reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this operation, U.S. Africa Command performed a thorough review and determined the allegations of civilian casualties to be not credible.
As with any allegation of civilian casualties, U.S. Africa Command reviewed all available relevant information concerning the incident.
The command complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions to minimise civilian casualties and other collateral damage.”
In its June 2018 report, UNSMIL reported: “On 5 June, three civilians were killed in an airstrike claimed by the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) near Beni Walid. The three were riding in a vehicle with a member of a UN-designated terrorist group when hit.”
Jana reported that the Bani Walid Municipal Council demanded an investigation into the case and “was waiting for an official apology for the unjustified killing.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (20) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the village of Shumaykh (شميخ). The coordinates for Shumaykh are: 31.435742498574424, 13.958174302831182.