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There has been a dramatic rise in civilian casualties from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) over the last three years, new data from Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) show.
Numbers compiled from English-language media reports show there was a 70 percent rise in the number of civilian casualties globally from IEDs like car bombs and suicide vests last year compared to 2011. In 2011 13,340 civilians were killed and injured by IEDs. 2013 saw this number shoot up to 22,735.
In total AOAV’s data, which has been compiled over the last three years and which is used by the United Nations for tracking explosive weapon harm, showed there have been over 60,000 deaths and injuries from IEDs in 2011-13, with civilians accounting for 81 percent of these casualties.
An AOAV release reports that IEDs did not just impact Iraq and Afghanistan. AOAV recorded IED incidents in sixty-six different countries and territories in the last three years. Of these countries, eight, including Pakistan, Nigeria, and Thailand, saw over 1,000 civilian casualties of IEDs. According to HomeLand Security New Wire new trends show that civilians are at greater risk due to the increased use of large vehicle-borne IEDs and the rise in the numbers of incidents occurring in populated areas.
The figures showed that In 2013, 62 percent of all IED incidents took place in populated areas, like markets and cafes. This is compared to 51 percent in 2011. Civilians are at much greater risk from IEDs in populated areas. Ninety-one percent of casualties from IEDs in populated areas were civilians, compared to 42 percent in other areas.
Car bombs are being used more frequently. The proportion of IEDattacks involving car bombs rose from 11 percent of all IED incidents in 2011, to 33 percent in 2013. Each car bomb incident caused an average of twenty-five civilian casualties. Over the last three years 34 percent of civilian casualties from IEDs were caused by suicide bombers. Suicide bombs were reported in twenty-six different countries, causing over 18,000 civilian casualties in the last three years.