Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

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]