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Explosive violence in July 2018

In July 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 3,151 deaths and injuries from 279 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 75% (2,362) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive violence was used in populated areas, 86% of all casualties were civilians, compared to 31% in other areas.

In total, 66% of all civilian casualties from explosive violence last month were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst 10% were caused by ground-launched explosives and 20% by air-launched explosives – the remainder (4%) were caused by attacks using multiple explosive weapon types or landmines.

At least one death or injury from explosive violence was recorded in 27 countries and territories last month. The five worst impacted countries were Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq according to civilian casualties.

Whilst Syria continued to be the country worst impacted by explosive weapons, last month IEDs were responsible for the most civilian casualties – 42% were caused by IEDs, 39% by airstrikes and 11% from ground-launched explosive weapons. On July 25th, multiple suicide and gun attacks in Suweida left at least 135 killed and many more injured.

In Pakistan, IEDs continued to cause the vast majority of harm; they were responsible for 95% of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Pakistan in July. Throughout last month there were many high casualty attacks on rallies and voting centres due to the general election. On July 10th, at least 85 were killed and injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives during a rally in Peshawar. On July 13th a suicide bomber targeted an election campaign event in a town in Mastung district of Balochistan, leaving over 300 killed and injured. And, on the day of the election, July 25th, further attacks took place, including a suicide bombing outside a polling station in Quetta.

In Afghanistan, 88% of reported civilian casualties were caused by IEDs. After recording a 27% rise in civilian casualties from explosive weapons in Afghanistan in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, with a 345% increase in the number of civilian casualties from IED attacks claimed by ISIS and their affiliates, such violence continued. On July 22nd an ISIS suicide bomber targeted crowds at Kabul airport welcoming home Afghanistan’s Vice President, Abdul Rashid Dostum, leaving at least 130 dead and injured.

In Yemen, 55% of civilian casualties from explosive violence were caused by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and 38% by shelling, from Saudi Arabia, Yemeni forces, and Houthi rebels. IEDs were responsible for the remaining 3% of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Yemen.

In Iraq, despite being amongst the five worst impacted countries, civilian casualties from explosive violence continued to decrease last month. In 2017, the monthly average was 548 civilian casualties from explosive violence. So far this year, the monthly average has been 138 civilian casualties per month.

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.