In a number of other cases civilians have been killed at home when their buildings were shelled. These include a 60-year-old man from Qasr Ben Ghashir in Tripoli on 20 July. A day earlier Anas Kamal al-Harrabi, a young boy, was also killed. Several civilian deaths have also been reported in Benghazi.
In both Tripoli and Benghazi the indiscriminate shelling of urban areas using mortars, artillery, GRAD rockets and anti-aircraft weapons has been extensive. Firing such imprecise weapons in urban areas resulting in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime. All parties to the conflict must cease indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and the authorities must launch effective and independent investigations into all credible allegations of war crimes perpetrated during these two conflicts.
“Armed groups involved in the fighting have demonstrated a recklessness towards civilians and their property in recent weeks, launching indiscriminate attacks while paying little attention to the devastating consequences of such irresponsible actions,” said Philip Luther.
In and around Benghazi, a coalition of Islamist militias and armed groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which was recently re-named the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, has been engaged in a conflict against armed forces allied with retired General Khalifa Haftar since mid-May.
In Tripoli, rival militias from Zintan and Misratah and their respective allies, have been fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport since 13 July.
Indiscriminate shelling in urban areas surrounding the capital’s airport has prompted thousands of residents to flee. Many of them, including foreign diplomats and aid workers, fled across the border to Tunisia. According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, some 30,000 people crossed the border into Tunisia over the last week, many of them Egyptian workers. Airports in both Tripoli and Benghazi have been shut due to the spiralling violence.
As well as the rising civilian death toll, persistent shelling has caused significant damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure in Tripoli and Benghazi.