LONDON: Despite a drop of 10 per cent worldwide, terrorism continues to haunt the world as the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) said on Wednesday internationally there had been 29,376 deaths caused by terrorism in 2015, the first fall in four years, as action against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria cut the numbers killed there by a third.
The annual index ranks countries based on data from the Global Terrorism Database run by a consortium based at the US University of Maryland.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria, which accounted for 72 per cent of all deaths, were the top five ranked countries in the GTI.
The United States ranked 36th, with France 29th, Russia 30th and the United Kingdom 34th.
The global economic impact of terrorism was assessed to be $89.6 billion with Iraq suffering the greatest impact, at 17 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Deaths from terrorism in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries increased by a massive 650 per cent last year despite a marked fall globally as Islamic State (IS)and Boko Haram militants suffered military defeats at home but committed more attacks abroad, a report said.
IS was the deadliest group in 2015, the report said, overtaking Boko Haram with attacks in 252 cities that led to 6,141 deaths.
Boko Haram’s move into neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad saw the number of fatalities in these countries increase by 157 per cent.
However, the report said the groups had spread their actions to neighbouring states and regions, causing a huge increase in fatalities among OECD members, most of which are wealthy countries such as the United States and European nations.
It said 21 of the 34 OECD member countries had witnessed at least one attack with most deaths occurring in Turkey and France where coordinated attacks by IS gunmen and suicide bombers at the Bataclan music venue, a soccer stadium and several cafes in Paris last November killed 130 people.
In total, 23 countries registered their highest ever number of terrorism deaths.
“While on the one hand, the reduction in deaths is positive, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries and its spread to new ones is a cause for serious concern and underscores the fluid nature of the modern terrorist activity,” said Steve Killelea, the IEP’s executive chairman.
“The attacks in the heartland of western democracies underscore the need for fast-paced and tailored responses to the evolution of these organisations.”