All Belligerents in Libya, 2011

Mourners in Majer, Libya in 2011 following a NATO airstrike which killed at least 34 civilians, according to multiple reports. Image courtesy of Sidney Kwiram/ Human Rights Watch

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

Incident Code

Lib2011-044

Incident date

March 20, 2011

Location

سرت‎, Sirte, Libya

Geolocation

31.190547, 16.571441 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A “large number” of civilians was reported killed in NATO airstrikes on Sirte, according to the Gaddafi regime.

Mohamed Abd El Rahman reported on Facebook that “the Libyan regime said that the coalition launched raids on Tripoli and Zuwara and Misurata (west) and Sirte since Saturday and targeted Sirte on Monday, especially the airports, which led to the death of ‘a large number of civilians’.”

Another source only mentioned British airstrikes on Sirte, but made no mention of civilian harm.

According to independent monitors, numbers of civilian casualties reported by the Gaddafi regime were significantly inflated throughout the NATO intervention.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 20
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Sirte (سرت), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.190547, 16.571441. 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 type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 20
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC059

Incident date

February 1, 2017

Location

بنغازي‎, Benghazi: Ganfouda 12 building complex, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.023611, 20.039722 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two sources reported an LNA airstrike in Benghazi’s Ganfouda neighbourhood. A Twitter source said it hit the 12 Building complex.

The Libya Herald reported that soldiers discovered a mass grave in the heavily sieged area: “Soldiers have also today uncovered a mass grave in Ganfouda which contains an unknown number of bodies. Forensic experts are now examining the corpses, some of which appear to be quite recent. It is unclear if the dead are terrorists, civilians or captured members of the LNA.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 20
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Libyan National Army

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Image: Libya Herald

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the 12 buildings in Benghazi, for which the coordinates are: 32.023611 20.039722. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Libyan National Army Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army
  • Libyan National Army position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 20
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Libyan National Army

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC040

Incident date

August 28, 2016

Location

قنفودة, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.026870, 20.021119 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to 21 civilians were reportedly killed in airstrikes on Benghazi. Three local families were reportedly killed as well as 11 Sudanese workers.

While the majority of sources named the LNA as the belligerent, Libya Mostakbal claimed that is was conducted by a ‘Predator’ drone which isn’t part of the LNA air force. However, UAE drones with a similar silhouette have supported LNA operations.

Libya Mostakbal reported that 11 foreign workers, mostly from Sudan, were killed. It was additionally reported that three Libyan families died. “The family members of the Abdali family, consisting of three children with their father and mother, were killed in full, along with the family of the Feturi, a husband and wife” reported Alnabaa.  Members of the Barassi family were reported missing, while Ajwa claimed a third family had died in the strike.

Several outlets cited the local Shura Council, which reported total of 18 strikes were reported on that day in Benghazi.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    21
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Libyan National Army

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Alnabaa shows footage of the airstrike victims
  • More footage provided by Alnabaa
  • Very graphic: Tanasouh shows the airstrike victims

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the Ganfouda neighborhood (قنفودة), located within the city of Benghazi (بنغازي). After investigating visual material from sources, we narrowed this location down to a home located at: 32.026870, 20.021119.

  • Screenshot from a local news report showing house targeted by airstrike. Note tag "A" refers to the lane between the targeted home and the adjacent property.

    Imagery:
    Al-Tanasah Foundation

  • Satellite image showing home targeted by airstrike.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Satellite image showing location of home targeted by airstrike within Benghazi.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Libyan National Army Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army
  • Libyan National Army position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    21
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Libyan National Army

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-069

Incident date

April 14, 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 16 civilians were reportedly killed in indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi regime forces on Misurata.

Human Rights Watch reported: “Libyan government forces have launched indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on residential neighborhoods in the rebel-held city of Misrata, Human Rights Watch said today. One strike, apparently by a Grad rocket, killed at least eight civilians waiting in line for bread. Another attack, apparently with a mortar round, hit a medical clinic, wounding four others.

At least 16 civilians have been killed in indiscriminate attacks since April 14, 2011, Human Rights Watch said, based on witness and survivor accounts, as well as inspections of the impact sites. Human Rights Watch found no evidence of military activity in the areas that came under attack, and witnesses said rebel fighters were not present in those areas when the attacks took place.”

Al Jazeera also reported on the shelling, showing the bodies of civilians and rocket fragments.

The Telegraph put the number of victims at 23, saying that “most of the dead were reported to be women and children, along with three Egyptian migrant workers waiting to be evacuated.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16 – 23
  • (4–6 children4–6 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • 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.
  • Suspected targets
    Libyan rebel forces, Other, Unknown

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Al Jazeera reporting on the indiscriminate shelling in Misurata

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

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16 – 23
  • (4–6 children4–6 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    4
  • 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.
  • Suspected targets
    Libyan rebel forces, Other, Unknown

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-115

Incident date

June 22, 2011

Location

زليتن, Zliten, Murqub, Libya

Geolocation

32.334524, 14.530509 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Several civilians were killed by a NATO airstrike near Zliten, according to the Gaddafi regime television.

France 24 said that “Libyan television announced the killing of dozens.”

Al Jazeera wrote: “Libyan television said on Wednesday dozens of people were killed in Zliten in a bombardment by NATO warplanes. However, it was not possible to verify the authenticity of the information independently because the Libyan authorities are preventing the entry of foreign journalists into the town.”

NATO itself reported striking “13 Armed Vehicules, 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier, 1 Rocket Launcher” on June 22 near Zliten without reporting civilian harm.

Throughout the NATO intervention independent monitors reported that the Gaddafi regime hugely inflated or fabricated reports of civilian casualties in Libya.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12 – 24
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Zliten (زليتن) city. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Zliten are: 32.334524, 14.530509.

NATO forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

NATO forces

In the vicinity of Zlitan: 13 Armed Vehicules , 1 Armoured Personnel Carrier , 1 Rocket Launcher

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12 – 24
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC039

Incident date

August 12, 2016

Location

قنفودة, Ganfouda, Benghazi, Libya

Geolocation

32.028594, 20.026959 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Various sources reported that between 20 and 31 civilians were killed and around 30 more injured as a result of airstrikes in Ganfouda. Two targets appear to have been struck – a residential home and a prison.

While some sources claimed the attack was conducted by an unknown foreign drone, others blame the LNA or France.

Radio Dabanga reported that five members of a Sudanese family were killed when an unidentified air force bombed their home during fighting between rival factions in Benghazi. The Sudanese outlet reported that the civilians were being used as human shields. The victims were named as Mohammed Aduma Mohammed (the father), his wife Safaa Mansour, and children Mohammed Aduma Mohammed, Rania Mohammed and Heba Mohammed.

The Saraya Media Center showed images of the victims on its Telegram channel and said they were killed as a result of their home collapsing after a French airstrike.

As the victims were reportedly mostly Sudanese citizens, Ambassador Qaraballah Al-Khader later condemned the use of his country’s citizens as human shields and their subsequent deaths.

Alnabaa identified the perpetrator as “French” and said the bombing was carried out by “foreign aircraft supporting [General] Haftar.”

The Libya Observer, citing the local Shura council, said 15 prisoners were killed and 30 civilians injured when a jail used to house supporters of “former regime followers” was also bombed. The Observer also blamed “foreign aircraft, in support of Khalifa Haftar.” A later report raised the death toll to 22 with 9 missing. Ewan Libya published a list of those prisoners deceased and missing.

According to Mohamed Abd Alwanis posting on Facebook, in addition, two Shura Council fighters were reported killed in the incident.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

  • Bilal Mohammed Al-Taraki Age unknown
  • Ismail Hamed Al-Rubaie Age unknown
  • Ismail Boujrada Gaddafi Age unknown
  • Abdul Salam Mukhtar Al Ajili Age unknown
  • Zakaria Makhlouf the Turgian Age unknown
  • Lafi Saleh al-Ashebi Age unknown Missing
  • Ali Nasr Grill Age unknown
  • Ahmed Zaghloul Fathallah Age unknown
  • Mohammed Omar Al-Amari Age unknown
  • Abdul Rahman Mohammed Gaddafi Age unknown Missing
  • Ahmed Ali Almagri Age unknown Missing
  • Mahdi Yusuf Mohammed Age unknown
  • Hamed Alturghi Age unknown
  • Mohammed Al-Aqili Age unknown
  • Abdul Latif Ali Al-Darcy Age unknown
  • Adel Salem Nabous Age unknown Missing
  • Mustafa Othman Al-Suway Age unknown
  • Abdulaziz Abdulwahab Al-Hassi Age unknown
  • Khaled Salem Al-Shaeri Age unknown Missing
  • Ibrahim Ali Obeidi Age unknown
  • Khalifa Awad Al-Akouri Age unknown Missing
  • Mohammed Ramadan Al-Nabli Age unknown Missing

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20 – 31
  • (3 women1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Libyan National Army, French Military

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Saraya Media Center shows the impact of the airstrikes and interviews residents of Ganfouda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Saraya Media Center interviews those injured in the airstrike
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A video shows the aftermath of the airstrike (Source:Al-Tanaseh TV)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Saraya Media Center shows the aftermath of the airstrike and speaks with victims
  • Saraya Media Center speaks with children injured in the airstrike

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the neighbourhood of Ganfouda (قنفودة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.028594, 20.026959. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Libyan National Army Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army
  • Libyan National Army position on incident
    Not yet assessed

French Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    French Military
  • French Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20 – 31
  • (3 women1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Libyan National Army, French Military

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

Lib2011-053

Incident date

March 30, 2011

Location

تاجوراء , Tajoura, Tripoli, Libya

Geolocation

32.830319, 13.383189 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to 40 civilians were killed in Tajoura by a NATO airstrike, according to a senior Vatican official based in Tripoli at the time.

Reuters reported on the incident: “At least 40 civilians have been killed in air strikes by Western forces on Tripoli, the top Vatican official in the Libyan capital said Thursday, citing what he called reliable sources in close contact with residents.”

It further stated: “NATO said it was investigating Martinelli’s report but had no confirmation of civilian casualties in Tripoli.

Martinelli earlier told Catholic news agency Fides that the 40 civilians were killed in Buslim, but he later corrected the district to Tajoura, saying he had confused the names of the two neighbourhoods.

He said his information on the killings came from “people who work with us, who have many contacts with residents, who are on the ground and know the situation very well.”

Al Jazeera tweeted that a residential area in Tripoli was bombed according to Libyan TV. And DP News posted pictures of “Libyan victims” but did not state if they were killed in this particular incident.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    40
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Images of victims possibly killed in the incident (via DP News)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the city of Tajoura (تاجوراء), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.830319, 13.383189. 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
    40
  • 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 target
    Gaddafi forces

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

LC177

Incident date

August 4–5, 2019

Location

القلعة, Al Qala, Murzuq, Libya

Geolocation

25.919023, 13.923895 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least 42 civilians were reportedly killed in an LNA or Emirati airstrike on Murzuq in one of the biggest civilian harm events in Libya since 2011.

Al Jazeera said: “At least 42 people have been killed and dozens wounded in an air raid in southern Libya, an official said, as the United-Nations recognised government blamed forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar for the attack.”

It added, quoting the same official: “‘No armed or wanted people were among them … Haftar bombed unarmed civilians,’ he said, calling for humanitarian aid since the local hospital could not cope with the high number of casualties.”

Reuters reported: “‘The air strike resulted in 43 killed and 51 wounded. This is only an initial toll of casualties,’ Murzuq municipal council member Mohamed Omar told Reuters in a phone interview.

He said the done strike had targeted a town hall meeting where residents were holding discussions after days of clashes between rival tribesmen.”

The Guardian later said at least 45 people had been killed.

According to various outlets, pro-LNA sources said the strike had targeted Chadian opposition fighters.

While the majority of sources accused the LNA of conducting the strike, it does not itself operate drones. Emad Badi blamed the UAE for flying the drone.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    42 – 45
  • Civilians reported injured
    51–60
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Libyan National Army, United Arab Emirates Military

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Video allegedly showing the aftermath and victims of the airstrike

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Al Qala (القلعة) in the town of Murzuq (مرزق‎), for which the generic coordinates are: 25.915485, 13.910505. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Libyan National Army Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Libyan National Army
  • Libyan National Army position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United Arab Emirates Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United Arab Emirates Military
  • United Arab Emirates Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    42 – 45
  • Civilians reported injured
    51–60
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Libyan National Army, United Arab Emirates Military

Sources (19) [ collapse]