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Explosive violence in November 2017

In November 2017, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 3,617 deaths and injuries from explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 79% (2,864) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 92% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 17% in other areas.

In total, 35% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 30% were caused by airstrikes, and 10% by ground-launched explosives. However, it is worth noting, that of civilian deaths alone, airstrikes caused the most casualties, responsible for 37% of all such deaths from explosive weapons – IEDs were responsible for 25%.

Attacks using multiple explosive weapon types caused 670 civilian casualties last month. This was predominantly due to the attack on a mosque in Sinai, Egypt on November 24th, which killed and injured over 400 civilians, using suicide belts, grenades and guns.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 23 countries and territories last month – two more than in October. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan according to civilian casualties.

Again, Syria was the worst impacted by explosive weapons. Most civilian casualties (50%) were recorded in Deir Ezzor governorate. Whilst 66% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence in the country were caused by state actors, including Russia, Syria and the US-led coalition.

In comparison, the civilian casualties in Iraq were mostly caused (79%) by IEDs – the remaining 21% were caused by airstrikes. A suicide car bomb attack on a vegetable market in Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk, killed 32 and injured as many as 80 on November 21st.

Whilst Yemen saw 74% of its civilian casualties caused by air-launched explosives, as Saudi-led coalition airstrikes continued to fall on populated areas, such as homes, hotels and markets.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area affects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.