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Terrorist attacks are down worldwide, new data shows

August 1, 2018

The number of terrorist attacks and associated deaths worldwide declined for a third consecutive year in 2017, according to University of Maryland data released Wednesday, citing a particular drop in incidents by the Islamic State.

With certain U.S.-based mass shooting incidents such as the Las Vegas concert shooting last October included in the data, the assessment separately found that “lethal terrorist attacks in the United States” actually increased over the same period.

However, overall terrorist strikes across the world, including those carried out by violent jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda, ISIS and Al-Shabaab were down last year, according to the data released by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

There were 10,900 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2017, a 20 percent decrease compared to 2016, the consortium said in a press release. It also said the number of people killed more than 26,400 in 2017 was down roughly 24 percent worldwide compared to 2016.

More than half of all terrorist attacks in 2017 took place in just four countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, according to the data. It also said more than half of all deaths from terrorist attacks took place in just three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

The Islamic State group was responsible for the most terrorist attacks (1,321) and deaths (7,120) in 2017, although the numbers were down 10 percent and 40 percent respectively from a year earlier, according to the data.

In terms of recent historical trends, the consortium said that, “despite recent decreases in terrorist violence, the number of attacks in 2017 is 28 percent higher than in 2012, and deaths 71 percent higher.” It also said terrorist violence around the world “peaked in 2014 at nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 45,000 total deaths.”

With regard to incidents inside the United States, the consortium’s data shows there were 17 lethal terrorist attacks in 2017, compared to six in 2016. It also shows the attacks killed 91 victims in 2017, a 49 percent increase from 2016.

A background report by the consortium, meanwhile, noted a 24 percent increase in attacks worldwide including in the United States carried out by perpetrators “not known to be affiliated with a particular organization.”

“The deadliest attack in the United States took place in October, in Las Vegas, where an anti-government extremist shot and killed 58 people attending a music festival, and wounded more than 850 others,” the background report said.

“Also in October, an assailant inspired by the Islamic State drove a rental truck into people on a bike path for approximately one mile in New York City,” the report added. “The attack killed eight people, including several tourists, and injured at least 12 others.”

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