A new report released by the U.S. State Department analyzing terrorist attacks reveals a sharp rise in both the number of attacks worldwide and the effectiveness of terror groups to inflict mass casualties.
According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 increased by 35 percent, while total fatalities increased 81 percent.
More than 32,700 people were killed worldwide in a total of 13,463 terrorist attacks, with more than 34,700 reported injuries. 20 percent of those killed, however, are designated as the perpetrators of the attacks either by suicide or being killed by security forces responding to an attack.
In a State Department briefing over the report today, reporters asked Ambassador Tina Kaidanow whether the sharp increases reflected a failure in U.S. effectiveness at combating terrorism globally. "The numbers don’t tell the whole story,” said Kaidanow, the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism. “They’re geographically very much in conflict areas and the lethality of those attacks have really gone up because of the savagery of them.”
The State Department primarily credits the heightened figures to the rise of ISIS and Boko Haram last year in its 388-page annual terrorism report, noting the groups stepped onto the world stage at a time where Al-Qaeda seemingly lost momentum.
"The prominence of the threat once posed by core al Qaeda diminished in 2014,” the report says. “Largely as a result of continued leadership losses suffered by the AQ core in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Fueling the rise of ISIS, the report notes the massive accumulation of foreign fighters flocking to Syria last year, totaling more than 16,000 from more than 90 countries as of late December.
The report decries “counterproductive actions some governments have taken” to combat terrorism and foreign fighter recruitment and travel, making a hard case against Iranian involvement in foreign conflicts.
“In 2014, Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah, which remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region,” the report reads.
The report notes that terror attacks occurred in 95 countries, with the heaviest concentrations in Iraq, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Only 24 U.S. citizens were killed in 2014 as a result of terrorism overseas, the report said.