The number of reported attacks against students, teachers and educational facilities for political or military reasons has increased dramatically in the past three years, according to a recent UN study. The countries that are most affected are Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Nepal, the Palestinian territories, Thailand and Zimbabwe, the study showed. Brendan O'Malley, who prepared the report for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, told a news conference on Thursday that the violent incidents range from multiple deaths in bombings and by gunfire to targeted assassinations, destruction of buildings, the recruitment of school-age children as soldiers, and the occupation of schools by armed groups. "Attacks on education often escape international attention amid the general fighting in conflict-affected countries," the report said. "But the number of reported assassinations, bombings and burnings of school and academic staff and buildings has risen dramatically in the past three years, reflecting the increasingly bloody nature of local conflicts around the world."