March 1, 2024
Denmark admits role in Nato airstrikes on Libya that killed 14 civilians in 2011

In first such admission, previously secret document says Danish aircraft participated in attacks linked to civilian deaths

Denmark’s defence ministry said it would launch a review after evidence emerged showing its air force participated in airstrikes on Libya that killed 14 civilians in 2011, the first time any of the 10 countries involved in the Nato bombing campaign has acknowledged a possible link to non-combatant casualties.

Documents released under freedom of information show the Danish air force had concluded privately as long ago as 2012 that two F-16 attacks were connected to civilian casualty reports compiled by the UN, media and human rights groups.

An airstrike on Surman, nearly 40 miles west of Tripoli, on 20 June 2011 that killed 12 civilians, including five children and six members of one family. A surviving family member said the target was solely a residential compound, owned by a retired Libyan government member, but Nato said at the time it was “a legitimate military target”, despite reports of non-combatant deaths.

The bombing of an apartment block in Sirte, central Libya, on 16 September 2011 that killed two, a man and a woman who was five months pregnant. Although there were unconfirmed reports of snipers on the rooftop, questions were raised in the aftermath over whether an attack would have been proportionate, given civilians were killed.

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