Global terror-related deaths fall to 5-year low

“Despite the overall fall in the global impact of terrorism, it remains a significant and serious threat in many countries.”

POLICE TAPE at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh (photo credit: REUTERS)
POLICE TAPE at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deaths from acts of terrorism across the world are 59% lower than at their peak in 2014, according to findings by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) that is published by the Institute for Economies & Peace.
In 2019, the total number of deaths stood at 13,826, down 15.5% compared to the previous year.
The broader impact of terrorism was also down along with the fall in deaths and 103 countries recorded an improvement on their GTI score, compared with 35, who saw a deterioration, the report said. In the world’s nine regions evaluated by the GTI, seven saw reduced terrorism impact.
The drop in the number of deaths was greatest in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, where conflicts are ongoing, although they are nowhere near as “hot” as they were in prior years.
Still, a statement by the Institute for Economies & Peace said: “Despite the overall fall in the global impact of terrorism, it remains a significant and serious threat in many countries.”
Conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq or African countries like a Nigeria and Somalia are where 96% of terror-related deaths occur.
According to the GTI, the largest decline in terror events was in Afghanistan, where there were 1,654 fewer deaths compared to 2018, a drop of 22.4%.
Nigeria had the second largest drop in terrorism deaths in 2019, with the number falling from 2,043 to 1,245, a 39.1% reduction.
Afghanistan remained the country most shaken by terrorism, after it overtook Iraq in 2018.
Another problem area is Western Europe, North America and Oceania, which saw the largest increase in terror deaths “at any time in the last 50 years,” with a 250% percent jump.
The GTI report predicted that negative trends would continue in the West because of increased “political instability and violence” brought about by the pandemic and the accompanying economic instability.
Moreover, far-right attacks in these countries can often be carried out by individuals who have looser contacts with others with similar ideologies, but who are not part of a Middle Eastern-style terror cell.
Still, the report warns that even informal contacts with like-minded extremists can radicalize individuals from dissidents to carrying out terror attacks. Only Afghanistan and Nigeria recorded over 1,000 deaths from terrorism in 2019.