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2015 GTD data informs latest State Department ‘Country Reports on Terrorism’ Release

On Thursday, June 2, the Department of State released the 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism. The report is provided to Congress each year and covers developments in countries in which acts of terrorism occurred, countries that are state sponsors of terrorism, and countries determined by the Secretary to be of particular national security interest.

START’s Global Terrorism Database provides the foundation for the statistical annex section of the CRT, which marks the first time that trends in 2015 terrorism data from the GTD have been publicly released. Major findings from the report include:

  • The total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13% and total deaths due to terrorist attacks decreased by 14%, compared to 2014. This was largely due to fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria.  This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and deaths worldwide since 2012. 
  • In several countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Syria, and Turkey, terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015.
  • Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically.  More than 55% of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74% of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan).
  • While the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for 31% fewer terrorist attacks in Iraq, the number of attacks carried out by ISIL in Syria increased by 39%.  The geographic reach of attacks by ISIL and its affiliates expanded as several existing terrorist groups pledged allegiance to ISIL.  In addition to Boko Haram in West Africa, the most active of these ISIL branches were located in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.
  • The number of attacks in which victims were kidnapped or taken hostage declined in 2015; however, the number of kidnapping victims and hostages increased. This was primarily due to an increase in the number of attacks involving exceptionally large numbers of victims.

The full dataset of 2015 terror attacks will be available for download on the Global Terrorism Database website later this month.

To read the full Country Reports on Terrorism report, click here.