The State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator said the numbers do not reflect improvements by the USA and its partners in stamping out terrorism financing, improving information sharing, impeding foreign fighters and forming a coalition to fight the Islamic State.
The State Department said the rise in deaths was attributed, in part, to the number of attacks that were “exceptionally lethal”.
Terrorist attacks around the world increased 35 percent in 2014, and deaths from terror-related incidents increased 81 percent, the USA State Department’s 2014 Country Reports on Terrorism said.
The number of people kidnapped or taken hostage tripled, to more than 9,400, largely at the hands of Islamic State and Al Nusra Front in Syria and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Twenty-four Americans died previous year in terrorist attacks, mostly in Afghanistan, Somalia and Jerusalem.
“In 2014, Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished via the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah, which remained a substantial threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region”, the report reads.
“We think it’s essential that we pursue those negotiations”, she said.
Al Qaeda’s leaders “appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of ISIL’s rapid expansion and proclamation of a Caliphate”, the report said, using an alternate acronym for Islamic State. That is up from the roughly 10,000 attacks and just over 18,000 deaths in 2013. Again, such events were concentrated in a handful of countries, and the sharp increase was driven by several large-scale kidnappings, including, for example, the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria. Isis and Boko Haram also employed tactics such as “stoning, indiscriminate mass casualty attacks, and kidnapping children for enslavement”.
In its annual report on terrorism, the department also charted an unprecedented flow of foreign fighters to Syria, often lured by the Islamic State group’s use of social media and drawn from diverse social backgrounds. It also said Iran continued to send arms into Syria, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The deadline for the Iran nuclear agreement is June 30th.
Kaidanow emphasized that no plans were under consideration to remove sanctions against Iran associated with terrorism.
It also includes Cuba as a designated state sponsor of terrorism through 2014, though it notes that the Obama administration removed it from the list in May. However, the USA rescinded Cuba’s designation, last month, as Washington and Havana continue the process of normalizing relations.
The Philippines also witnessed a 24 percent drop in attacks.
In Afghanistan, the vast majority of attacks were linked to the Taliban.
“In Pakistan, no specific group was identified as the source for almost 80-percent of attacks”.
Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) and its alias organizations continued to operate freely in Pakistan, and there were no indications that Pakistan took significant enforcement actions against the group.
Although the report covers 2014, American officials said that the Iranian policies described in the report have continued this year. Most attackers are killed while carrying out the operation, thus making it harder to pinpoint the different motives that drive a lone wolf to commit a terrorist attack.
The U.S. was “deeply concerned” about the growth of IS beyond Syria and Iraq and the birth of self-proclaimed affiliates, the report said, particularly in Libya, Egypt and Nigeria.