2016 THE WORST YEAR FOR ISIL TERROR DEATHS, REPORT FINDS
Terrorism-related deaths were down globally, but Iraq saw an increase of 2,800 from 2015
ISIL killed more people in terrorist attacks last year than in any other year, and a 50 per cent increase from 2015. The Global Terrorism Index
2017 says terrorist deaths decreased by 13 per cent between 2015 and 2016 for the second consecutive year, but the number of deaths in Iraq increased by 2,800.
The yearly report, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace and based on the Global Terrorism Database, as well as other sources, provides a comprehensive resource for global terrorist trends.
The five countries most affected by terrorism were Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Of them, Iraq was the only country to record an increase in deaths last year.
The increase was attributed primarily to ISIL, which increased its suicide attacks and assaults on civilians to compensate for territorial losses. The deaths in Iraq accounted for 40 per cent of the group’s increase from the year before.
“ISIL deaths have decreased in Syria and global terrorist deaths decreased by 22 per cent in the past two years, but they have increased in Iraq,” said Daniel Hyslop, research director at the institute.
Tahir Abbas, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London, said that while ISIL had been forced out of Mosul and Iraq, it still had a presence in areas of Iraq and Syria.
“While ISIL cannot claim to have authority in the region in the form of a self-declared caliphate, it is clear that fighters, many of whom are foreign fighters from all over North Africa and the Middle East, remain in the region,” Mr Abbas said.
Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the institute, said Iraqi forces had been fighting very hard to take back their country.
“ISIL is clearly coming under a lot of pressure because they’re losing a lot more people,” Mr Pantucci said.
Sabahat Khan, senior analyst at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said a consequence of ISIL losses was that they appeared to have become more lethal.
“There have also been more ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks by lone wolf operatives,” Mr Khan said. “ISIL is constantly mutating, which means it’s challenging to keep getting the same results with operations that were effective a few months back.”
Iraq and Syria suffered the highest number of fatalities since 2002, with more than 60,000 and 8,000 deaths. They are followed by Yemen at 4,000.
The Middle East and North Africa had the highest number of deaths and attacks last year, followed by South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Civilians were the most targeted in the region, making up 54 per cent of the fatalities.
About 94 per cent of terrorist deaths took place in the Mena region, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Central America and the Caribbean were the least affected regions, with only 12 deaths, or less than 0.4 per cent of the world total.
Despite significant reductions in deaths registered in Africa and Afghanistan, with Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al Qaeda killing 6,000 fewer people last year than the previous year, experts say there are still areas of concern.
The research found that 99 per cent of all terrorism deaths in the past 17 years occurred in countries in conflict or those with high levels of political terror – the presence of extra-judicial killings, torture and imprisonment without trial.
Turkey and Egypt recorded some of the biggest increases in deaths after major government crackdowns.
The global economic impact of terrorism last year was US$84 billion, a reduction of nearly $6 billion compared with 2015.
Terrorism accounts for just 1 per cent of the total global economic impact of violence.