A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Background Report: Mass-Fatality, Coordinated Attacks Worldwide, and Terrorism in France

On November 13, 2015, assailants carried out a series of coordinated attacks at locations in Paris, France, including a theater where a concert was being held, several restaurants, and a sporting event. These attacks reportedly killed more than 120 people and wounded more than 350 others. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.  To provide contextual information on coordinated, mass-fatality attacks, as well as terrorism in France and the attack patterns of ISIL, START has compiled the following information from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

The report, “Mass-Fatality, Coordinated Attacks Worldwide, and Terrorism in France,” is available on START’s website and includes details such as:

  • Between 1970 and 2014, there have been 176 occasions on which terrorist attacks killed more than 100 people (excluding perpetrators), in a particular country on a particular day.
  • Between 2000 and 2014, there were 83 days on which more than 100 people were killed by terrorist attacks in a single country. These attacks took place in 25 countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia; however, they were especially concentrated in Iraq and Nigeria.
  • Preliminary data from 2015 suggest that the unusual frequency of mass casualty terrorist attacks in 2014 has continued. Between January and June 2015 there were 11 occasions in which terrorist attacks killed more than 100 people in a single country on a single day.
  • ISIL, under its current incarnation, carried out more than 750 coordinated attacks from 2000-2014—specifically in 2013 and 2014. However, this is a conservative assessment because the Global Terrorism Database records the names of perpetrator organizations at the time of the attack. Thus, it is important to note that al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), ISIL’s predecessor, carried out at least 400 coordinated attacks as well. Also, 25 coordinated attacks were attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), another identity previously assumed by ISIL, and several other coordinated attacks were carried out by provinces of the Islamic State, including the Sinai Province and the Tripoli Province.

View the full report at http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_ParisMassCasualtyCoordinatedAttack_Nov2015.pdf.