US report: 2014 witnessed drastic rise in ‘terror’ attacks

Between 2013 and 2014, number of global ‘terror attacks’ and casualties escalated drastically, according to new report by US State Department

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The US State Department released its annual terrorism report on Friday saying 2014 witnessed a significant rise in attacks and casualties globally, as more than 63 percent of all attacks occurred in just six countries: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Syria.

The report states 33,000 people were killed in around 13,500 attacks last year globally, and abductions more than tripled from 3,137 in 2013 to 9,428 in 2014.

The US federal law defines “terrorism” as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents” and the State Department classifies 59 groups as “terrorist organisations” and the report details their activities around the world annually.

The global acts of terror were dominated by ISIS and the African militant group Boko Haram, both raised the number of attacks by more than a third of the previous official statistics, almost doubled the number of fatalities and approximately tripled the number of kidnappings, according to the report.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram killed 85 people on Jan. 26 in a village of northeastern Borno State, and in June 2014, ISIS militants raided a prison in Mosul, Iraq killing approximately 670 inmates among other atrocities committed by the two groups, according to the report.

Meanwhile the West Bank faced atrocious behaviour in May by Israeli settlers attacking St George Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

The church was vandalised by expressions “Jesus is Garbage” and “King David for the Jews.” Including graffiti stating “Death to Arabs” was found on another street, as stated in the report.

In November, the Jewish “Lehava” group completely vandalised and then set fire to the Max Rayne Hand-in-Hand School, a bilingual centre for Jewish-Arab education in Jerusalem, according to the report.

The deadliest attack ever to happen in Pakistan, Dec. 16, Taliban attack on the Army Public School in the city of Peshawar, resulted in the deaths of 145 people of whom 132 were schoolchildren as stated in the report.

The State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Ambassador Tina Kaidanow stated that even though the statistics given do not show triumph over terrorism, the US and its partners have made progress.

With regard to Turkey, the report drew attention to the Turkish government's efforts to prevent influx of foreign fighters into neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

“The Government of Turkey intensified efforts to interdict the travel of suspected foreign terrorist fighters through Turkey to and from Syria and Iraq.” the report said.

“These efforts include the development and implementation of a ‘banned from entry list,’ as well as the deployment of ‘Risk Analysis Units’ to detect suspected foreign terrorist fighters at airports, land border crossings, and border cities.”

The efforts that the US has put forth to counter global terrorism included the abolishment of financing, improvement of information sharing, slowing the rapid movement of foreign fighters and the formation of a coalition to fight against ISIS, the report says.

Drawing attention to international cooperation as one of the most significant aspect of the efforts, Kaidanow said “A successful approach to counterterrorism must therefore evolve around partnerships.”

President Barack Obama has argued repeatedly that the most decisive way to oppose terrorism is to create strong partnerships that could further strengthen their efforts against the global violent groups.  

Kaidanow further emphasised the significant step that was taken with the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2178 which helps in the prevention of the flow of foreign fighters to and from conflict zones.

TRTWorld and agencies