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State Dept: 35 Percent Increase in Terrorist Attacks Worldwide

The U.S. State Department released the Country Reports on Terrorism on Friday finding that nearly 33,000 people were killed and 34,700 injured in almost 13,500 terrorist attacks around the world in 2014.
Image: Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria
The Nigerian army patrols in Chibok, Borno State, North Eastern Nigeria on March 5, 2015.Henry Ikechukwu / EPA, File

The U.S. State Department released the Country Reports on Terrorism on Friday finding that nearly 33,000 people were killed and 34,700 injured in almost 13,500 terrorist attacks around the world in 2014.

That is a 35 percent increase in terrorist attacks and an 81 percent increase in total fatalities since 2013.

The terrorist attacks took place in 95 countries, but were concentrated in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Syria. Twenty attacks in 2014 were particularly lethal, killing more than 100 people.

In 2013 there were only two such attacks.

The impact of the Islamic State in the Middle East region and Boko Haram in Africa figured prominently in the report which noted that al-Qaeda leadership “appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of ISIL’s rapid expansion.”

But despite the prominence of the threat once posed by core al-Qaeda diminishing, the report found that AQ still has an impact.

"Though AQ central leadership was weakened, the organization continued to serve as a focal point of “inspiration” for a worldwide network of affiliated groups, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula — a long-standing threat to Yemen, the region, and the United States; al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb; al-Nusrah Front; and al-Shabaab," the report said.

Last year's trend of terrorist’s employment of more aggressive attacks continued this year with "ruthless methods of violence such as beheadings and crucifixions intended to terrify opponents," the report said. Boko Haram and ISIS shared this use of brutal tactics including, "stonings, indiscriminate mass casualty attacks, and kidnapping children for enslavement."

Related:Boko Haram Massacre Survivors Flee Nigeria to Island in Lake Chad

Weak or failed governments in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Iraq were noted as an enabling environment for the growth of extremist radicalism and violence.

The report points out that terrorism in 2014 was marked by numerous kidnappings and hostage-taking events citing more than 9,400 people kidnapped or taken hostage in terrorist attacks in 2014. That is three times as many as in 2013.

This particular trend, according to the report, is more concentrated in Iraq, Nigeria, and Syria.

Recent:Few Good Men: U.S. Says Iraqi Recruits in Short Supply

More trends from the report included a rise in lone wolf violent extremists in the West, ISIS seizure of an unprecedented amount of territory in Iraq and Syria and a continued flow of foreign terrorist fighters joining ISIS from around the world.

The ongoing civil war in Syria played a significant role and more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters traveled from more than 90 countries to that country as of late December. That figure exceeded the rate of foreign terrorist fighters traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia in the last 20 years

Related:U.S. Officially Removes Cuba From State Sponsors of Terrorism List

Cuba was formally removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism on May 29th, leaving Sudan, Syria and Iran.

The report did not say whether terrorism sponsored by Iran, which has been on the list for more than 30 years, had increased in the last year but did point to their use of proxies to expand their influence not just in the middle east but Africa, Asia and to a lesser extent Latin America.

“We continue to be very, very, concerned by IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force) activity as well as proxies that act on behalf of Iran .. including Hezbollah and other groups,” Ambassador Tina Kaidanow said in a briefing about the report. “We watch that extremely carefully.”

The State Department has said that the consequences for this continued support of terrorist activities will not be influenced by ongoing negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program. The self-imposed deadline for reaching an agreement is at the end of this month.

“We have sanctions in place against Iran specifically related to the terrorism issue, that is not going to change,” Kaidanow said stressing, “It is not being contemplated.”

The deadline for the Iran nuclear agreement is June 30th.

Sudan had allowed terrorist groups to operate within its borders, but the State Department previously said it recognizes that nation's efforts to fight terrorism

Terrorist attacks and fatalities did go down in certain countries, including Greece, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Russia.