Three civilians were allegedly killed and up to four more injured by a NATO airstrike on the Ghardabiya area of Sirte.
A Human Rights Watch investigation found: “On September 23, 2011, around 4 p.m., NATO struck a new house on a farm belonging to the Gidwar family in Gurdabiya, about 20 kilometers east of Sirte. More than a dozen members of the extended family had congregated there after their homes in central Sirte were shelled in fighting, family members said. The strike killed three people: an elderly man and two girls, aged 8 and 10. Three children and a woman were wounded, including a four-year-old who reportedly lost an eye and a 15-year-old who lost his left leg below the knee.
Human Rights Watch visited the house on February 6, 2012 and found no evidence of military activity except one green uniform loosely packed in the rubble and two 14.5 mm spent cartridges on the west side of the house. A family member said he did not know how the uniform or cartridges got there. Other material might have been removed prior to the visit. The strike grazed the northeast corner of the house, causing a crater just outside the building. Most of the house was standing but the floor and kitchen were damaged. Inside the house, Human Rights Watch found remnants of a GBU-12 laser guided bomb, suggesting that is what NATO used.”
The NGO added: “According to two witnesses, the two girls who were killed, Sajida and Esra, were sitting outside with 15-year-old Abdulhamid at the time of the strike. The elderly man who died, Omar Salem Omar Gidwar, 67, a businessman in Sirte, was in the bedroom. Human Rights Watch obtained copies of death reports for all three people.
Abdulhamid was hospitalized for two months for his left leg, which Human Rights Watch saw was amputated below the knee. He was given a prosthetic and walks with a slight limp. He recalled the moment the missile hit the house:
‘I was sitting with my nieces just outside the house on the porch steps… . My sister Afaf stood up outside and came towards us. She said there was a loud sound and shelling or a strike. She heard a missile coming towards us. I didn’t see anything. [The girls] had been singing for 15 minutes, and then the strike happened. After the strike, my nieces were thrown away from me. One was on my right side and one was in front of me. The smoke was all over the place. There was dust and smoke. I felt suffocated. I couldn’t breathe easily. I fainted. I can’t remember much after that.'”
Mustafa Al Fitouri named three victims without mentioning injured casualties.
Stories Sirte and Zangetna Ahlamontada published condolence pages for the victims, saying three were killed and three injured.
NATO on that day reported striking “1 Ammunition Storage Facility, 1 Anti Aircraft Gun, 1 Command and Control Node, 2 Armed Vehicles” near Sirte.
The local time of the incident is unknown.