Global Terror Attacks, Deaths Spike in 2014

Global Terror Attacks, Deaths Spike in 2014Global Terror Attacks, Deaths Spike in 2014

The US State Department said in a report the number of terrorist attacks worldwide rose by a third in 2014, while terror fatalities nearly doubled, with militants in Africa and the Middle East mainly behind the surge.

Extremist groups, including Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Boko Haram in Nigeria, fueled a dramatic 35 percent jump in the number of terror attacks in 2014, the State Department said Friday in its annual terrorism report.

According to the new statistics, there were 13,463 terrorist attacks over the course of the year, which led to nearly 33,000 deaths. That’s up from just over 18,000 deaths in nearly 10,000 attacks in 2013. More than 9,400 people were also taken hostage, triple the rate of the previous year, DW reported.

Terror attacks took place in 95 countries in 2014, but were concentrated in the Middle East, South Asia and West Africa. Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria accounted for more than 60 percent of the attacks and, if Syria is included, roughly 80 percent of the fatalities, the report found.

Among the 20 mass casualty attacks in 2014 were the December attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, that killed at least 150 people, and the June attack by IS insurgents on a prison in Mosul, Iraq, in which 670 Shia prisoners were killed.

There were 20 attacks that killed more than 100 people each in 2014, compared to just two in 2013, according to the figures.

 IS Overtakes Al-Qaeda

IS made rapid territorial gains in Syria and Iraq in 2014, overtaking Al-Qaeda as the world’s leading militant group.

Al-Qaeda’s leaders “appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of rapid IS expansion and its proclamation of a caliphate,” the report said.

The threefold rise in kidnappings is attributable to mass abductions carried out by IS and the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in Syria.

Boko Haram in Nigeria was responsible for almost 1,300 abductions in the West African country in 2014, including the more than 200 girls taken from a school in Chibok in April 2014.

By comparison, less than 100 terror-related kidnappings were reported in Nigeria in 2013, according to the report.

 Unprecedented Stream

The department acknowledged the “unprecedented” stream of foreign fighters joining extremist groups. It noted that more than 16,000 individuals had traveled to Syria as of late December, surpassing the rate of those who traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia “at any point in the last 20 years.”

The State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator claimed that although the report presented a bleak picture, the US and its allies had made gains in clamping down on terrorism financing and stemming the flow of fighters traveling to conflict zones.

The State Department report credited UN Security Council Resolution 2178 as a “major step forward” in efforts to prevent terrorists from traveling to and from conflict zones.

The report also highlighted a rise in “lone offender violent extremists in the West” such as the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris last January.

The report said militant groups used more aggressive tactics in 2014 than years before, such as beheadings and crucifixions.

Boko Haram, operating in northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and southeast Niger, used stoning, mass murder attacks and kidnapped children en masse.