The Explosive Weapons Monitor is a civil society initiative that conducts research and analysis on harms from and practices of explosive weapon use in populated areas for the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW)
Running annual civilian casualty count 2021
Monthly update on Explosive Weapons use
102 armed actors
29 armed actors
246 armed actors
197 armed actors
Impact on civilians
88 % of civilians killed and injured in a populated area
15 % of civilians killed and injured in a unpopulated area
At least one death or injury from the use of explosive weapons was recorded in 21 countries and territories in June 2021. The five worst impacted countries were Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen and Iraq in terms of civilian casualties.
There were 16 incidents of explosive weapon use affecting aid access, education and healthcare services in seven countries. Nearly half of reported incidents affected healthcare services. Overall, incidents were most frequent in Afghanistan and Syria (four incidents each). This data may include some incidents where the device did not detonate or where there were no civilian casualties, and includes incidents where historical items such as unexploded ordnance were found and which affected the provision of these services.
Monthly incidents by country
Affected countries in June 2021
In June 2021, there were 55 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Afghanistan with 362 civilian casualties, 59% of the total casualties (612) from explosive weapon use this month. 114 civilians were killed and 35 of the civilian casualties were reportedly children. 67% of the incidents (37) were from directly emplaced explosive weapons, specifically IEDs in the form of roadside bombs (22), non-specific IEDs (7), and car bombs (8). 20 of the 55 incidents took place in populated areas, and of the total casualties from these incidents (244), 87% were civilians (213). The incident with the highest number of confirmed civilian casualties occured on 1 June in a predominantly Hazara neighbourhood of west Kabul, when two car bombs were detonated in quick succession, killing at least 10 civilians and wounding 12 others. The first bomb exploded in front of a Shiite mosque and near the home of a prominent Hazara leader. A third bomb in the attack was detonated at an electrical grid station in north Kabul, heavily damaging the site and plunging the city into darkness, though no casualties were recorded from the third bomb. Another particularly injurious incident took place on 6 June in the provincial capital of Balkh province, Mazar- i-Sharif, when a car bomb was detonated outside the police headquarters, killing 17 members of the security forces, 2 civilians, and wounding 69 others. The number of civilians among the wounded was not specified in English-language media reporting. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The proportion of civilian casualties in June is 47% less than in May. Sources: NYT, AP.
In June 2021, one incident of explosive weapon use affecting aid access was recorded. Two female Afghani aid workers travelling in a minibus in Nangarhar province were injured when an unknown perpetrator on a rickshaw detonated a remote-controlled IED at the mini-bus. Source: AWSD.
In June 2021, one incident of explosive weapon use affecting the provision of education was recorded. Rockets and stray bullets of unidentified origin destroyed a Save the Children-supported school in Faryab province. Source: Save the Children.
In June 2021 in Afghanistan, two incidents of explosive weapon use affecting health services were recorded. Both incidents impacted COVID-response efforts. The Islamic State bombed a minivan in front of a hospital where COVID-19 patients were being treated and suspected Taliban fighters fired a rocket into a hospital, causing extensive damage and loss of crucial supplies, including COVID-19 vaccines. Sources: Reuters, The Khaama Press and The New Arab.
On 26 June 2021 in Vagharshapat, Armenia, a man detonated a hand grenade in a home, killing one man immediately and severely injuring himself. He later died of his injuries in hospital. Source: News.am.
Congo - Kinshasa
On 27 June 2021, there were four casualties from explosive weapon use in the DRC as a result of twin attacks in Beni, North Kivu. Two women were in injured by a bomb blast inside a Catholic church, and a suicide bomber affiliated with ISIS was killed detonating his device in a busy intersection in Beni, also killing one civilian. Source: France24, Reuters.
In June 2021, there were 244 recorded civilian casualties from explosive weapon use in Ethiopia this month and all of these were the result of one incident on 22 June, when an airstrike by the Ethiopian state airforce struck a market in Togoga, Tigray, killing 64 civilians and wounding at least 180 others. The airstrike took place around 1pm, when many families were in the market. Ambulances were reportedly blocked by Ethiopian soldiers from reaching the scene and/or returning to the hospital in Mekele, causing the death toll to rise. This is, by far, the most lethal and injurious incident of explosive weapon use recorded in Ethiopia in the last decade, and the first recorded state airstrike this year. Sources: Reuters, BBC, Guardian, AP.
On 17 June 2021, two people were killed in a grenade blast in a maximum security prison in El Paraiso, Honduras. There was also gunfire in the incident, which killed at least one person and injured 39 others. All the fatalities were inmates, and the injured included inmates and guards. Source: AP, Reuters.
In June 2021, across seven incidents, India suffered 25 civilian casualties, and 33 total casualties. Twenty-one of the civilian casualties were injured, and four were killed. Seven of the civilian casualties were reportedly children. Six of the seven recorded incidents took place in populated areas, and all civilian casualties occurred in populated areas. The use of ground-launched weapons, specifically grenades, caused 16 civilian casualties, and the use of IEDs caused nine civilian casualties. On 12 June, two civilians and two police officers were killed when a grenade was detonated in a market in Sopore, northern Kashmir. Four police officers and three civilians were injured in the attack. Sources: Kalinga TV, The Free Press Journal.
In June 2021, across 26 incidents of explosive weapon use in Iraq, there were 80 civilian casualties, 15 of whom were killed and 65 injured. There were 27 armed-actor casualties, 15 injured and 12 killed. IEDs accounted for 21 of the 26 incidents, and 92% (70) of civilian casualties. 14 of the 26 incidents of explosive weapon use occurred in populated areas and in those incidents, civilians made up 82% of the casualties. The worst incident took place on 3 June in al-Kadhimiya, northern Baghdad, when an IED was detonated in a restaurant, killing 4 civilians and injuring 36. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which happened in a highly protected Shia shrine area. The number of civilian casualties in Iraq increased notably, from 19 in May to 80 in June, though the number of incidents has only increased by 4, up from 22 incidents in May. The number of armed actor casualties decreased, from 43 in May to 27 in June. Source: ISHM.
In June 2021, in Makhmur town and district, Erbil governorate, a Turkish drone attack struck a kindergarten near a school in a UN-supported camp for Kurdish IDPs, killing three civilians and wounding two more. Source: France 24.
In June 2021, there were twenty-one armed-actor casualties across two incidents in Mali. There were no reported fatalities, all casualties were injuries from the use of directly emplaced weapons, specifically a car bomb and roadside bomb. In one incident, 13 UN soldiers (12 German) were injured in a car bomb attack in Tarkint. In the second incident, eight soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb in Douentza. Source: Guardian, The Economic Times, UrduPoint.
In June 2021, in Pakistan there were nine incidents of explosive weapon use resulting in 31 civilian casualties, down from 36 in May. Four of the civilian casualties were killed, 27 injured, and nine of the casualties were reportedly children. Five of the nine recorded incidents took place in populated areas. Six incidents involved the use of directly emplaced weapons, specifically IEDs, and the three other incidents all involved the detonation of grenades in populated areas. The worst attack took place on 23 June in Lahore, when a car bomb was detonated in a residential area, killing four civilians, including a child, and wounding 24 others. Children and police officers were among the critically wounded. The blast happened near a police checkpoint next to the house of Hafiz Saeed, the jailed founder of Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Sources: Reuters, Hindustan Times.
In June 2021, there have been 10 civilian casualties recorded from the use of explosive weapons in the Philippines, and no armed-actor casualties. Four of the casualties were reportedly children. All casualties were attributed to the use of IEDs. The deadliest incident took place on 6 June, when two civilians were killed when their bike hit an IED in Masbate City. A child was also wounded in the incident. In an incident on 23 June, a pregnant woman was killed and her two children injured by an IED in Maguindanao. June was the worst month this year for civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in the Philippines since January 2021, which saw the same number of casualties. Sources: ABS-CBN News, PNA.
In June 2021, there were three recorded incidents involving use of explosive weapons in Somalia, causing 11 civilian casualties, seven of whom were killed and four injured. Five casualties were reportedly children. There were 39 recorded armed-actor casualties, 19 of whom were killed and 20 injured. Two of the three incidents were suicide attacks using IEDs. One incident was an airstrike in Jubbaland by the Kenyan air force, which caused exclusively civilian casualties, six in total, five of whom were children, and one a pregnant woman. Thirty-six of the 39 armed actor casualties occured in one al-Shabaab suicide attack on 15 June at an armed base for new military recruits in Mogadishu. Another al- Shabaab suicide attack using a car bomb killed five civilians and three armed actors in Wisil, Galmudug region. Civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons are half that of May 2021, and the lowest this year. However, armed actor casualties are nearly double that of May 2021. Sources: Xinhua, ANI, Reuters, Xinhua, Reuters.
In June 2021, there were 78 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, resulting in 211 civilian casualties. 58 were killed, 153 injured, and 33 of these casualties were reportedly children. Ground-launched weapons, such as artillery shelling, mortars, rockets, and grenades accounted for 34 of the 78 incidents and 134 civilian casualties. There were 35 incidents of use of directly emplaced weapons, predominantly IEDs but also mines, causing 57 civilian casualties. There were eight recorded incidents involving use of air-launched weapons, two by the Israeli air force and two by the United States air force, and one confirmed Russian airstrike. One airstrike by the United States caused four civilian casualties. The Syrian state was responsible for at least 19 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use and 53 civilian casualties. 62% (48) of incidents took place in populated areas, where 92% (194) of the total civilian casualties occured. The worst incident this month occured on 12 June when al-Shifaa hospital in rebel-held city Afrin, Aleppo, was shelled by artillery fire originating in an area of northern Aleppo where militias loyal to the Syrian regime are deployed. 17 civilians were killed by the shelling on al- Shifaa hospital, and 23 were injured. Casualties included a number of healthcare workers, women, and children. Aleppo and Idlib provinces remain the most dangerous areas for civilians, combined accounting for 80% (168) of the total civilian casualties (211). The number of civilian casualties in Syria in June has more than doubled that of May, and the proportion of civilian casualties to total casualties has increased to 57% in June, from 44% in May. Sources: Guardian, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Reuters, Al Jazeera
In June 2021 in Syria, two incidents of explosive weapon use affecting aid access were recorded in Hama and Idlib governorates. Ground launched shelling killed a Syrian volunteer paramedic, destroyed an aid centre, and damaged an IDP camp. Sources: The New Arab, SNHR and The White Helmets.
In June 2021 in Syria, one incident of explosive weapon use affecting the provision of education was recorded. Ground launched shelling damaged a makeshift school inside an IDP camp in Idlib governorate. Source: SNHR.
In June 2021 in Syria, three incidents of explosive weapon use affecting health services were recorded. Two health workers were killed, and a hospital and aid centre destroyed by ground launched shelling and air launched missiles. Sources: SAMS USA, SNHR, The New Arab I, The White Helmets, UN News and UPI.
On 9 June 2021, one armed-actor was wounded during a patrol by a landmine blast in the Kesserine region. Source: All Africa.
In June 2021, in Ukraine there were five civilian casualties from explosive weapon use and six armed-actor casualties, across seven incidents. All armed-actor casualties were the result of shelling by Ukrainian separatists in the Donbas region. All civilian casualties were the result of one incident in Sloboda, Kharkiv, involving the detonation of a grenade. Two teenagers were among the injured. Source: Unian, Kyiv Post.
In June 2021, In Lazove village, Donetsk oblast, a grenade launcher hit an ambulance as it was evacuating the wounded amid clashes between Ukrainian troops and separatist fighters. Source: New Age.
In June 2021, there were five incidents of explosive weapon use recorded in Yemen, 2 fewer than in May, but more than triple the number of civilian casualties, with 83 civilian casualties recorded compared to 26 in May. These casualties were attributed to the use of ground-launched weapons, directly emplaced weapons (IEDs), as well as other incidents involving a combination of different explosive weapon types. Houthi rebels were responsible for three of the five incidents and 83% (69) of the civilian casualties. All incidents of explosive weapon use occurred in populated areas. The worst incident took place on 10 June, when Iran-backed Houthis launched two ballistic missiles and two drones rigged with explosives into residential areas and a marketplace in Marib city centre, killing eight civilians and injuring 27. June has seen the highest level of civilian casualties from the use of explosive weapons in Yemen this year so far. Sources: Arab News, Reuters, AP.
In June 2021, at Al Humayqan town, Az Zahir district, Al Bayda governorate, a school was hit by artillery shells. Source: CIMP.
In June 2021, in Ar Rawdah neighborhood, Marib city and governorate, two ambulances were hit by drone strikes while responding to a fire caused by missiles at a fuel station. Source: CIMP.
Annual count 2021