Explosive weapons in conflict mostly harm civilians, fighting study shows

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May 25 (UPI) — Explosive weapons in populated areas have killed and injured civilians more than 90% of the time over the past 10 years, according to a new study released Tuesday by a London-based organization calling for an end to their use.

The group Action on Armed Violence said in its Explosive Violence Monitoring Project that almost 240,000 civilians were killed or injured by such weapons between 2011 and 2020.

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“When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas,” the group said.

The group defines explosive weapons as including a variety of munitions, such as air-dropped bombs, mortars, improvised explosive devices and artillery shells.

Action on Armed Violence executive Director Iain Overton, for example, pointed to the ongoing conflict in Israel, where many Palestinians have been killed and injured in populated locations, like buildings and settlements.

The group also noted the conflict in Gaza, which has been under a cease-fire for less than a week after 11 days of Israeli bombardment.

“When explosive weapons are used in towns and cities, civilians will be harmed,” Overton told The Guardian. “[It is] as true as it is today in Gaza as it was a decade ago in Iraq and beyond.”

The group said it’s documented close to 360,000 deaths and injuries overall by explosive weapons in 30,000 incidents in the past decade. It said civilians made up 73% of those deaths, or about 262,000.

“Since the monitor began, AOAV has recorded the appalling suffering caused across the globe by both manufactured and improvised weapons,” the 55-page report states.

“We call on states and other users to commit politically to stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas.”