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Explosive Violence in April 2024

In April 2024, Action on Armed Violence recorded 3,034 deaths and injuries from 642 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 84% (2,542) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 93% (2,384) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 31% (158) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 94% (2,401) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 6% (141) of these civilian casualties in April 2024. Of the main launch-method types of manufactured explosive weapons, air-launched explosive weapons accounted for 37% (942) of civilian casualties, ground-launched weapons were responsible for 30% (761) of civilian casualties, and landmines were responsible for 1% (37) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 25 countries and territories in April 2024. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Gaza (932 civilian casualties), Ukraine (893), Myanmar (218), Sudan (113), and Syria (94).

GAZA

In April 2024, there were 172 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Gaza, 163 of which resulted in 932 civilian casualties, of whom 605 were killed and 327 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 69 children, 36 women, and 15 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 99% of all 946 casualties recorded in Gaza in April, as there were also 14 reported armed-actor casualties, of whom 12 were killed and 2 injured. 

Due to the consistent and frequent attacks in populated areas using explosive weapons, incident-specific reporting of casualties in Gaza is a slow and laborious process, with many reports coming in weeks after the incident. This, added to the difficulty in disaggregating and tracking rising casualty tolls and attributing deaths and injuries to specific strikes, means that AOAV’s April data for Gaza is, as it stands, likely to be a significant undercounting.

99% (925) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 53% (497) occurred in urban residential areas, 29% (271) in encampments, 4% (38) across multiple urban locations, 3% (26) in markets, 3% (26) in hospitals, 2% (17) in places of entertainment, 2% (14) in places of worship, 1% (12) in schools and less than 1% in humanitarian infrastructure (7), commercial premises (6), other populated locations (5), public buildings (4) and agricultural land (2). 

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Gaza in April are North Gaza (372 civilian casualties), Central Gaza (318) and South Gaza (242).

All recorded civilian casualties were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Israel.

The use of air-launched weapons caused 57% (531) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (521 civilian casualties), and air-launched missiles (10). Weapons of unclear launch method caused 21% (198) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (198). Ground-launched explosive weapons caused 18% (170) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shelling (94 civilian casualties), non-specific shelling (74), and combined ground-launched weapons (2). The use of weapons with combined launch methods caused 4% (33) of civilian casualties. 

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Gaza in April 2024 fell compared to levels recorded in March, when 198 incidents resulted in 1,747 civilian casualties (1,164 killed, 583 injured). In February, AOAV recorded 218 incidents and 2,173 civilian casualties, of whom 1,395 were killed and 778 injured.

UKRAINE

In April 2024, there were 264 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine, 261 of which caused 893 civilian casualties, 181 of whom were killed and 712 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 51 children, 106 women and 174 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 98% of all 909 casualties in Ukraine in April, as there were also 16 reported armed-actor casualties, of whom 6 were killed and 10 injured. 

93% (834) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 42% (372) occurred in urban residential areas, 37% (328) across multiple urban areas, 9% (78) in villages, 5% (44) in transport related infrastructure, and less than 1% in schools (6), commercial premises (2), public buildings (2), hospitals (1) and roads (1) respectively.

The oblasts in which civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine in April are Kharkiv (173 civilian casualties), Donetsk (138), Kherson (107), Dnipropetrovsk (100), Chernihiv (99), Zaporizhzhia (92), Odesa (90), Sumy (44), Mykolaiv (18), Poltava (17), Cherkasy (6), Rivne (3), Kyiv (3), Bryansk (2), and Luhansk (1).

The majority of civilian casualties, 98% (878), were attributed to state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Russia (831 civilian casualties), and Ukraine (47). Actors of unknown name and status caused 2% (15) of civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched weapons caused 41% (365) of civilian casualties, specifically, non-specific shelling (279 civilian casualties), artillery shelling (33), ground-launched missiles (22), ground-launched rockets (18), combined ground-launched weapons (5), grenades (4) and mortars (4). Weapons of unclear launch method caused 35% (312) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (309 civilian casualties) and rockets (3). 

Air-launched weapons caused 21% (187) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (136 civilian casualties), air-launched missiles (48), and air-dropped bombs (3). The use of combined explosive weapons caused 2% (14) of civilian casualties. Mines were the cause of 1% (11) of civilian casualties, specifically landmines (9 civilian casualties), anti-personnel mines (2). IEDs caused less than 1% (4) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (3 civilian casualties), and car bombs (1).

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in April 2024 rose compared to levels recorded in March, when 271 incidents caused 860 civilian casualties, 164 of whom were killed and 696 injured. In February, 218 incidents were recorded, which caused 613 civilian casualties (163 killed, 450 injured).

MYANMAR

In April 2024, there were 28 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Myanmar, 26 of which resulted in 218 civilian casualties, 98 of whom were killed and 120 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 12 children, 12 women, and 10 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 96% of all 227 casualties recorded in Myanmar in April, as 9 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 6 of whom were killed and 3 injured. 

All civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 39% (84) occurred in villages, 26% (56) in urban residential areas, 11% (24) in armed bases, 10% (21) across multiple urban areas, 9% (19) in hospitals, and 6% (14) in public buildings. 

The states in which civilian casualties were recorded in Myanmar in April are Rakhine (70 civilian casualties), Mandalay (55), Sagaing (41), Chin (19), Shan (17), Kachin (13), and Magway (3).

State actors, specifically the Myanmar military, caused 75% (163) of civilian casualties, whilst non-state actors caused 18% (40) of civilian casualties, specifically the Brave Warriors for Myanmar (24 civilian casualties) and the People’s Defence Force (16). Actors of unknown name and status caused 7% (15) of civilian casualties.

Air-launched weapons caused 58% (127) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (141 civilian casualties), and air-dropped bombs (24). Ground-launched weapons caused 28% (60) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shelling (55), and non-specific shelling (5). Weapons of unclear launch method, specifically rockets, caused 7% (16) of civilian casualties, as did the use of IEDs, which caused 7% (15) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Myanmar in April 2024 decreased slightly compared to March, when 34 incidents caused 247 reported civilian casualties, 85 of whom were killed and 162 injured. In February, 38 incidents were recorded, which resulted in 268 civilian casualties (80 killed, 188 injured).

SUDAN

In April 2024, there were 10 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Sudan, 9 of which caused 113 civilian casualties, 55 of whom were killed and 58 injured. Overall, civilians accounted for 73% of all 155 casualties recorded in Sudan in April, as 42 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 12 of whom were killed and 30 injured. 

92% (104) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 89% (101) occurred in urban residential areas and 1% (3) across multiple urban locations. 

The states in which civilian casualties were reported in Sudan in April are North Darfur (98 civilian casualties), South Darfur (7), North Kordofan (3), El Gedaref (3), and Jazira (2). 

47% (53) of civilian casualties were caused by non-state actors, specifically the Rapid Support Forces. Simultaneous explosive weapon use by the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces caused 37% (42) of civilian casualties, state actors, specifically the Sudanese Armed Forces caused 16% (18) of civilian casualties. 

The use of multiple explosive weapons caused 65% (73) of civilian casualties, while air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 19% (21) of civilian casualties. Ground-launched weapons caused 17% (19) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (16), rockets (2) and artillery shelling (1).

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Sudan in April 2024 remained consistent compared to March, when 10 incidents caused 120 reported civilian casualties (46 killed, 74 injured). In February, eight incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, which resulted in 77 reported civilian casualties (25 killed, 52 injured).

SYRIA

In April 2024, there were 62 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, 30 of which resulted in 94 civilian casualties, 25 of whom were killed and 69 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 24 children, 7 women, and 12 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 40% of all 234 casualties recorded in Syria in April, as 140 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 89 of whom were killed and 51 injured. 

90% (94) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 37% (35) of civilian casualties occurred in urban residential areas, 17% (16) in villages, 16% (15) across multiple urban locations, 7% (7) at public gatherings, 5% (5) at markets, 3% (3) in encampments and 2% (2) in public buildings and roads respectively. 

The provinces in which civilian casualties were reported in Syria in April are Aleppo (30 civilian casualties), Idlib (25), Daraa (19), Deir Ezzor (9), Hasakah (7), Damascus (3), and Raqqa (1).

The use of explosive weapons by state actors caused 43% (40) of civilian casualties, specifically Syria (37 civilian casualties), Israel (2) and Turkey (1). Actors of unknown name and status caused 31% (29) of civilian casualties. Non-state actors caused 27% (25) of civilian casualties, specifically unknown non-state actors (13 civilian casualties), Iran-backed militias (7) and Islamic State (5). 

Ground-launched weapons caused 52% (49) of civilian casualties, specifically grenades (15 civilian casualties), ground-launched rockets (15), RPGs (8), combined ground-launched weapons (6), artillery shelling (3), and non-specific shelling (2). 

The use of IEDs caused 19% (18) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific IEDs (16 civilian casualties), and car bombs (2). Air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 16% (15) of civilian casualties. Weapons of unclear launch method, specifically missiles, caused 9% (8) of civilian casualties, whilst mines, specifically landmines, caused 4% (4) of civilian casualties. 

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Syria in April 2024 decreased compared to levels recorded in March, when 73 incidents caused 173 civilian casualties, 77 of whom were killed and 96 injured. In February, 86 incidents were recorded, which caused 131 civilian casualties (53 killed, 78 injured).



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 effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.