Terrorism-Related Deaths Went Down in 2016. But Not Everywhere

November 15, 2017, 12:22 PM UTC

According to a global study, terrorism-related fatalities fell for a second year in 2016, even though more countries in the West were affected by the shift in tactics toward so-called “Lone Wolf” attacks.

According to the fifth annual Global Terrorism Index, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace think tank, deaths from terrorism fell 13% to 25,673 last year, and were 22% lower than the 2014 peak.

“The overall message is that the total number of deaths is lower,” said the Sydney-based director of research Daniel Hyslop. “The qualifier is that the number of deaths in OECD countries is climbing and spreading.”

Read: Overcoming A New Type of Terror: An Everyday Terror

Terrorism is defined in the report as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non‐state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

Nigeria saw the greatest drop in number of deaths (80%) as regions in the north were retaken from militant Islamist group Boko Harem. Other countries to experience significant declines included Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

Three quarters of the deaths in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations were related to the Islamic State, though most were carried out by attackers with weak links to the terrorist group, Hyslop said.

The report details that 28,000 fighters from 50 countries have joined Islamic State since 2012—a lower estimate than in other studies. Of those, between 3,900 and 4,300 came from Europe.

In Europe attacks cost less than $10,000 on average, according to the report.