WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) — A new State Department report showed the number of terror-related attacks around the world dropped by 13 percent in 2015.
The reduction in attacks from 2014 was mostly attributed to fewer attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria, which are typically some of the most terrorized countries in the world, the department said in its annual report on global terror. There was also a 14 percent drop in fatalities from terror attacks.
This is the first time either figure has dropped since 2012.
India and Afghanistan complete the list of the top five countries most affected by terrorism, and they accounted for more than half of the 11,000 attacks worldwide.
The State Department said data revealed the threat of terrorism “continued to evolve rapidly in 2015, becoming increasingly decentralized and diffuse.” Extremists were exploiting countries “where avenues for free and peaceful expression of opinion were blocked.”
Though Iran was the top state sponsor of terror, the Islamic State remains the biggest threat, with the group gathering supporters across the Middle East and Africa as well as Asia. Though it lost ground in Iraq and Syria, it made gains in Libya and Egypt.
Though there was an overall reduction in terror-related attacks worldwide in 2015, there were increases in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.
Justin Siberell, acting coordinator for counter-terrorism in the State Department, said the statistics, compiled by the University of Maryland, alone do not tell the full story about global terrorism.
“The United States and our partners around the world face a significant challenge as we seek to contend with the return of foreign terrorist fighters from Iraq and Syria, the risk of terrorist groups exploiting migratory movements, and new technology and communications platforms that enable terrorist groups to more easily recruit adherents and inspire attacks,” he said during a briefing Thursday.
Siberell said there was an increase in 2015 of international cooperation to act against terrorist threats, including the U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State and task forces created to counter Boko Haram and al-Shabab on the African continent.