The number of deaths dropped by 15.2 per cent over previous year. At least 71 countries have had at least one casualty. This is the second highest since the start of the century. For the first time since 2003, Iraq does not have the highest number of attacks and victims, following the collapse of the Islamic State group.
Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The number of worldwide deaths from terrorism fell by 15.2 per cent in 2018, even as the number of countries affected by extremist violence continued to grow, this according to the 2019 Global Terrorism Index, published by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).
From a high of 33,555 deaths in 2014, when the Islamic State (IS) group lured tens of thousands of jihadists to the Middle East, the number of terrorism deaths has dropped by more than half to 15,952 in 2018.
The two countries that recorded the most significant decline last year are Somalia and Iraq, with the latter - for the first time since the US invasion of 2003 - no longer the worse-affected country by terrorism.
The Taliban in Afghanistan have overtaken IS as the deadliest group in the world. Last year, they carried out 1,443 attacks killing 7,379 people. In Iraq there were 1,131 attacks, killing 1,054, followed by Nigeria with 562 attacks and 2,040 deaths. Syria is fourth with 131 incidents that claimed 662 lives.
The study defines terrorism as "the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non‐state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation".
No major terror attack was recorded In Europe in 2018, with the number of deaths falling from over 200 in 2017 to 62.
For IEP executive chairman Steve Killelea, “The collapse of ISIL (IS) in Syria and Iraq was one of the factors allowing Western Europe to record its lowest number of incidents since 2012, with no deaths attributed to the group in 2018.”
"However,” he goes on to say, “the situation still remains volatile, with large parts of Syria being contested and many smaller groups sympathetic to ISIS (IS) philosophies being active, leaving the possibility of further Islamist attacks in Europe.”
Lastly, the report notes that whilst "the intensity of terrorism has declined... terrorism is still widespread and increasing." In fact, 71 countries suffered at least one terrorism-related death last year, the second-highest number since the beginning of the century.