The use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas Gaza in 2014 was responsible for widespread death and destruction. In 2014, Gaza had more civilian casualties of explosive weapons use than anywhere else in the world other than Iraq and Syria. While the numbers of civilian casualties there in 2015 was significantly less, it is still important for us to remember those who were killed or injured in the previous year.
AOAV recorded 3,813 civilian deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Gaza in 2014, almost all occurring in July and August, in what is known as ‘Operation Protective Edge’. AOAV records casualties from the reporting of English-language media sources, and does not claim to be able to capture every incident or casualty of explosive weapons use.
Details of the 2014 attacks are captured in AOAV’s report Explosive States: Monitoring explosive violence in 2014. In addition, we examined the rules of engagement undertaken by the Israeli military in our report: Under Fire: Israel’s artillery policies scrutinised.
When monitoring the figures for the last five years Gaza was the 7th most affected country from explosive violence. In total AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor recorded 5,264 deaths and injuries from explosive violence over the last five years 2011-2015. Of these 91% (4,780) were civilians. 80% of all civilian deaths and injuries were recorded in 2014.
The figures for explosive violence in Gaza are likely to not reflect the true reality but give an insight into the scale of the violence each year, who it is by and who is most affected. This underestimate can be due to many challenges in collecting data, such as a reporting fatigue if the violence has been taking place for a long time.
What is very significant for Gaza is the amount of violence that is perpetrated by state actors. 98% of all deaths and injuries from explosive violence in the last five years in Gaza has been perpetrated by state actors, namely the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
2016 Explosive violence update
So far in 2016 (January-September), there have been five incidents of explosive violence that have led to death or injury. These were all perpetrated by the IDF and led to the death or injury of four armed actors and at least 13 civilians, including at least three children.
At least three of the incidents targeted populated areas. Air-launched explosives were used in all incidents.
Though this explosive violence does not even begin to reach the levels perpetrated in July and August 2014, it still speaks to the unrest and tension across Gaza.
UN says bombing of towns and cities must stop
The UN Secretary-General has highlighted the civilian suffering caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (courtesy of INEW).
‘Under Fire’ – Israel’s artillery policies scrutinised
AOAV report on how the IDF's changes to rules of engagement for artillery shelling have increased the risk to civilians in Gaza.
New report shows male civilians at particular risk of being killed by explosive weapons
AOAV report shows that in July 2014, male civilians were more likely than female civilians to be killed by explosive weapons in Syria and Gaza.
Explosive States: AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2014
Global civilian casualties from explosive violence in 2014 increased for the third year running, up 5% from 2013.
Explosive weapon harm: mental health and psychological impacts
AOAV looks at the devastating impact on explosive weapon use on the mental health of civilians