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Explosive Violence in January 2024

In January 2024, Action on Armed Violence recorded 5,612 deaths and injuries from 757 incidents of explosive violence around the world, as reported in English-language media. Civilians accounted for 85% (4,783) of the deaths and injuries recorded.

When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 95% (4,632) of the casualties were civilians, compared to 20% (151) in other areas.

Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for 88% (4,205) of civilian casualties, while improvised explosive weapons (IEDs) accounted for 12% (578) of these civilian casualties in January 2024. Of the main launch-method types of manufactured explosive weapons, air-launched explosive weapons accounted for 41% (1,952) of civilian casualties, ground-launched weapons were responsible for 30% (1,432) of civilian casualties, and landmines were responsible for 1% (45) of civilian casualties.

At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 28 countries and territories in January 2024. The five most affected countries and territories in terms of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons were Gaza (2,540 civilian casualties), Ukraine (729), Iran (389), Myanmar (326), and Sudan (172).

GAZA

In January 2024, there were 255 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Gaza, 233 of which resulted in 2,540 civilian casualties, of whom 1,795 were killed and 745 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 64 children, 24 women, and 20 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 97% of all 2,613 casualties recorded in Gaza in January, as there were also 73 reported armed-actor casualties, of whom 70 were killed and 3 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 January data for Gaza is, as it stands, likely to be a significant undercounting.

The majority of civilian casualties, 99.9% (2,539), occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 71% (1,797) occurred in urban residential areas, 10% (262) in humanitarian infrastructure, 7% (167) in encampments, 5% (135) in schools, 4% (92) in hospitals, 2% (40) across multiple urban areas, 1% (22) at public gatherings, and less than 1% in places of worship (8), villages (7), entertainment venues (6), and markets (3) respectively.

The regions in which civilian casualties were reported in Gaza in January are South Gaza (1,105 civilian casualties), North Gaza (763), and Central Gaza (672). 

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

The use of air-launched weapons caused 59% (1,504) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (1,154 civilian casualties), and air-launched missiles (350). Ground-launched explosive weapons caused 24% (613) of civilian casualties, specifically artillery shells (334 civilian casualties), non-specific shelling (174), and tank shells (105), while combined explosive weapons caused 17% (423) of civilian casualties in Gaza in January.

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Gaza in January 2024 decreased considerably compared to levels recorded in December 2023, when 278 incidents resulted in 3,996 civilian casualties (3,237 killed, 759 injured). In November, AOAV recorded 239 incidents and 3,322 civilian casualties, of whom 2,354 were killed and 968 injured. 

UKRAINE

In January 2024, there were 202 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Ukraine, 197 of which caused 729 civilian casualties, 151 of whom were killed and 578 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 45 children, 122 women and 128 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 97% of all 751 casualties in Ukraine in January, as 22 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 12 of whom were killed and 10 injured.

98% (718) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 51% (369) occurred in urban residential areas, 19% (136) across multiple urban areas, 15% (106) in villages, 8% (55) in markets, 2% in commercial premises (16) and hotels (15) respectively, 1% in hospitals (7), town centres (5), and public buildings (4) respectively, and less than 1% in humanitarian infrastructure (2), schools (2), and other populated locations (1) respectively.

The oblasts in which civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine in January are Kharkiv (220 civilian casualties), Donetsk (184), Kherson (126), Kyiv (82), Dnipropetrovsk (51), Odessa (19), Sumy (14), Zaporizhzhia (10), Kirovohrad (9), Mykolaiv (8), Khmelnytskyi (5), and Crimea (1). 

The majority of civilian casualties, 93% (676), were attributed to state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Russia (660 civilian casualties), Ukraine (15), and unknown state actors (1). Actors of unknown name and status caused 7% (53) of civilian casualties.

The use of ground-launched weapons caused 50% (368) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (188 civilian casualties), artillery shelling (87), ground-launched missiles (74), ground-launched rockets (12), combined ground-launched weapons (5), and mortars (2). Weapons of unclear launch method caused 21% (152) of civilian casualties, specifically missiles (149 civilian casualties) and rockets (3). Air-launched weapons caused 15% (108) of civilian casualties, specifically air strikes (107 civilian casualties) and air-dropped bombs (1). The use of combined explosive weapons caused 14% (100) of civilian casualties. Mines, specifically landmines, were the cause of less than 1% (1) of civilian casualties.

The number of civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Ukraine in January 2024 remained relatively consistent compared to levels recorded in December 2023, when 184 incidents caused 732 civilian casualties, 138 of whom were killed and 594 injured. In November, 197 incidents were recorded, which caused 458 civilian casualties (114 killed, 344 injured).

IRAN

In January 2024, there were three recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Iran, which caused 389 civilian casualties, 103 of whom were killed and 286 injured. Civilian casualties included at least six children, three women, and three men. Overall, civilians accounted for 99% of all 391 casualties recorded in Iran in January, as two armed actors were also killed.

96% (375) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas, specifically at public gatherings.

The provinces in which civilian casualties were reported in Iran in January are Kerman (375 civilian casualties) and Sistan-Baluchestan (14). 

98% (380) of civilian casualties were caused by non-state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically Islamic State Khorasan Province (375 civilian casualties) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (5). State actors caused 2% (9) of civilian casualties, specifically Pakistan.

IEDs, specifically non-specific IEDs, caused 96% (375) of civilian casualties, while air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 2% (9), and mines, specifically landmines, caused 1% (5).

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Iran in January 2024 spiked compared to December, when one incident injured one civilian. In November, one civilian was injured in one incident. AOAV’s data on explosive violence in Iran in January is indicative of the regional impact of the war between Israel and Hamas, with tensions flaring across the Middle East.

MYANMAR

In January 2024, there were 74 incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Myanmar, 56 of which resulted in 326 civilian casualties, 122 of whom were killed and 204 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 44 children, 25 women, and 24 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 68% of all 477 casualties recorded in Myanmar in January, as 151 armed actor casualties were also recorded, 113 of whom were killed and 38 injured. 

98% (320) of civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 75% (245) occurred in villages, 19% (61) in urban residential areas, and 2% in markets (8) and transport-related infrastructure (6) respectively.

The states in which civilian casualties were recorded in Myanmar in January are Rakhine (178 civilian casualties), Sagaing (77), Shan (33), Chin (16), Mon (14), and Magway (8).

State actors, specifically the Myanmar military, caused 97% (315), of civilian casualties, while actors of unknown name and status caused 2% (6), as did unknown non-state actors (5 civilian casualties).

Ground-launched weapons caused 63% (204) of civilian casualties, specifically non-specific shelling (107 civilian casualties), artillery shelling (93), and mortar shelling (4). The use of air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 30% (97) of civilian casualties. Naval-launched artillery shells caused 4% (13) of civilian casualties, and mines, specifically landmines, caused 2% (7). IEDs, specifically air-dropped bombs, were the cause of 2% (5) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Myanmar in January 2024 rose compared to December 2023, when 64 incidents caused 200 reported civilian casualties, 63 of whom were killed and 137 injured. In November, 74 incidents were recorded, which resulted in 387 civilian casualties (122 killed, 265 injured).

SUDAN

In January 2024, there were 15 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Sudan, which caused 172 civilian casualties, 113 of whom were killed and 59 injured. Civilian casualties included at least 17 children, 13 women, and 15 men. Overall, civilians accounted for 99% of all 173 casualties recorded in Sudan in January, as one armed actor was also killed. There are likely to be many more armed actor casualties in Sudan as a result of the ongoing civil war, and AOAV’s data is reflective of the lack of transparency by the actors party to the conflict.

All civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. Specifically, 57% (98) occurred in urban residential areas, 13% (22) in entertainment venues, 10% in villages (18) and across multiple urban locations (18) respectively, 6% (10) on public transport, and 3% (6) in markets.

The states in which civilian casualties were reported in Sudan in January are Khartoum (101 civilian casualties), Jazira (23), South Darfur (14), West Kordofan (12), North Darfur (12), and River Nile (10). 

83% (142) of civilian casualties were caused by state actors’ use of explosive weapons, specifically, Sudan, while actors of unknown name and status caused 17% (30) of civilian casualties.

The use of air-launched weapons, specifically air strikes, caused 80% (138) of civilian casualties. Ground-launched weapons, specifically artillery shelling, were the cause of 12% (20) of civilian casualties. Mines, specifically landmines, caused 6% (10) of civilian casualties, and missiles of unclear launch method caused 2% (4) of civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in Sudan in January 2024 decreased significantly compared to December 2023, when 12 incidents caused 439 reported civilian casualties (300 killed, 139 injured). In November, 16 incidents of explosive weapon use were recorded, which resulted in 326 reported civilian casualties (115 killed, 211 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.