U.S. report: Global terror attacks decline for second year in a row

Terrorism attacks are on the decline globally for the second year in a row, the State Department said in a report issued Wednesday.

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Terror attacks were down 9 percent in 2016 compared to the year before and deaths caused by terror attacks were down 13 percent, the report said.

“This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen,” the report said.
Attacks happened in 104 countries in 2016, 55 percent of which happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Seventy-five percent of terror attack deaths happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The Islamic State was the top terror threat in 2016, the State Department said, while al-Qaida also remained a threat. Though the Islamic State — also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL — carried out attacks at the beginning of 2016, mostly in Iraq and Syria, its grip on the countries slipped as it was driven out of strongholds.

The State Department designated Iran the top state sponsor of terrorism, notably for its support of Hezbollah, Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, and other groups in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

“Iran has facilitated and coerced, through financial or residency enticements, primarily [Shiite] fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan to participate in the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown in Syria,” the report said.

“Iranian-supported Shia militias in Iraq have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians and Iranian forces have directly backed militia operations in Syria with armored vehicles, artillery, and drones.”

By Danielle Haynes