US & Canada

US State Department: Global terror attacks down 13% in 2015

Wrecked cars burn at the scene of a terror attack in Mogadishu, June 2016 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The terror threat is "increasingly decentralised and diffuse", the US says

There was a marked fall in the number of terror attacks around the world in 2015, the US State Department has said.

It attributed the 13% drop from 2014 to fewer attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria, three of the five countries worst affected by terrorism.

The other two are India and Afghanistan and together more than half the 11,000 attacks occurred within their borders.

Separately, the UN warned that so-called Islamic State (IS) was focusing on international civilian targets.

Over the past six months IS had carried out attacks in 11 countries, not including its activity in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Libya, the UN said.

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More than 28,300 people died - a 14% decline - and about 35,300 others were wounded in 11,774 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, data compiled by the University of Maryland showed.

However, attacks and deaths increased in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Syria and Turkey, State Department Acting Co-ordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Pakistan along with Iraq and Nigeria saw fewer attacks in 2015

The State Department said figures showed the terror threat "continued to evolve rapidly in 2015, becoming increasingly decentralised and diffuse".

Extremists were exploiting frustration in countries "where avenues for free and peaceful expression of opinion were blocked", it said.

IS was the biggest single threat, the State Department said. The group has attracted affiliates and supporters in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Although IS was losing territory in Iraq and Syria, it had gained in strength in Libya and Egypt, the report said.

The report said Iran was the biggest state sponsor of terrorism, saying it supported conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and was also implicated in violent Shia opposition raids in Bahrain.

Bahrain has accused Iran of supplying weapons to Shia militants behind bomb attacks on security forces. Iran denies this.

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