Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Belligerent
Country
Libya
start date
end date
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents

Incident Code

Lib2011-046

Incident date

March 22, 2011

Location

مصراتة, Misurata, Libya

Geolocation

32.374457, 15.087794 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least four children were reported killed in a possible attack on Misurata by Gaddafi regime forces.

RTE wrote that “Forces loyal to Gaddafi are shelling the rebel-held western city of Misrata and casualties include four children killed when the car they were in was hit, Reuters is reporting.”

And the BBC noted: “AFP reported that sniper fire and bombing operations killed 17 people, including 5 children, in Misrata on Tuesday during attempts by pro-Gaddafi forces to regain control of the city.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4 – 17
  • (4–5 children)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Misrata (مصراتة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.374457, 15.087794. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Gaddafi Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Gaddafi Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4 – 17
  • (4–5 children)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-071

Incident date

April 20, 2011

Location

بئر الغنم, Bi'r al Ghanam, Zawiya, Libya

Geolocation

32.311608, 12.569035 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Four civilians were reported killed in a NATO airstrike on Bi’r al Ghanam near Tripoli.

Arab Anger Revolution posted on Facebook that “Earlier, four people were killed in the Bi’r al-Ghanam area, southwest of the capital, after an airstrike by the alliance on civilian and military targets.”

NATO did not report airstrikes in the area on that day.

There is currently no further known public information available for this event.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Bi’r al Ghanam (بئر الغنم), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.311608, 12.569035. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

NATO forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    NATO forces
  • NATO forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected targets
    Gaddafi forces, Other

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-026

Incident date

March 2, 2011

Location

البريقة, Brega, Al Wahat, Libya

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

Four civilians were reported killed and ten more wounded in an airstrike by the Gaddafi regime in Brega.

Only one source, Naji Alive, reported civilians casualties, via Twitter: “Four killed and 10 injured in airstrikes targeting Brega city west of Benghazi.”

Other sources, such as NPR, only reported airstrikes by the regime: “‘Huge plumes of smoke rose into the air’ after the warplanes attacked, Garcia-Navarro reported from Brega. She said it appeared that Gadhafi was ‘pulling out all the stops’ to regain large swaths of opposition-controlled eastern Libya.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ 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.

Gaddafi Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Gaddafi Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ 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

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)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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

Lib2011-116

Incident date

June 22, 2011

Location

الدفنية, Dafiniyah, Misurata, Libya

Geolocation

32.390033, 14.7988488 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to four civilians were reported killed by Gaddafi regime forces artillery shelling on Misurata.

Al Jazeera reported: “On the Misurata front, Reuters reported that three people were killed and 12 wounded in an artillery bombardment by Gaddafi forces on the Dafiniyah area.

More rockets fell on Wednesday in a suburb close to the port, and residents said no one was hurt, while a Reuters reporter said many dead sheep were lying in a field after the attack.”

February 17 Revolution of the Liberals of Libya said: “One of the city’s northeastern neighborhoods was shelled by long-range missiles by Gaddafi’s criminal battalions. About three rockets landed in one of the neighborhoods, causing material damage and wounding four civilians. The shelling killed about 35 sheep.”

Aisha Mansurey and Libya Alahrar TV said no human casualties occurred but the latter tweeted that six sheep were killed.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 4
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–12
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the neighbourhood of Dafiniyah (الدفنية), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.390033, 14.7988488. 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 of Dafiniyah (الدفنية).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Gaddafi Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Gaddafi Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 4
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–12
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Gaddafi Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-068

Incident date

April 12, 2011

Location

مصراتة, Misurata, Libya

Geolocation

32.374457, 15.087794 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were reported killed and one injured as a result of Gaddafi forces shelling on Misurata.

An ITN report showed people mourning the loss of “two brothers” due to indiscriminate shelling. Later, two injured children are shown in the film, of which one was said to have died at the hospital.

There are currently no known additional public sources relating to this event.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected targets
    Libyan rebel forces, Other

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    ITN report showing victims of the shelling [4:05]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Misurata (مصراتة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.374457, 15.087794. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected targets
    Libyan rebel forces, Other

Sources (1) [ 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

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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
  • Known 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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
  • Known target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (10) [ 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

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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    NATO forces
  • Suspected target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]