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Terror-related deaths around the world hit five-year low: analysis

Terror-related deaths around the world hit five-year low: analysis
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The number of deaths around the world caused by terrorism hit a five-year low in 2019, falling 59 percent since 2014, according to a new report by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI). 

The GTI said the decline in deaths has been starkest in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. The number of countries that experienced at least one death from terrorism last year sat at 63, the lowest since 2013. The Middle East and North Africa have seen an 87 percent drop in terror-related deaths since 2016 and in 2019 reached their lowest levels since 2003. 

Afghanistan remains the country with the most terrorism deaths, while seven of the 10 countries with the largest increases in terrorism were in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Ninety-six percent of terror deaths are still focused in areas of conflict such as Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and others. 

Far-right terrorism has also risen in Europe “amidst the rise of populism, civil unrest, and political violence more generally,” the report said. It found that deaths from political terrorism surpassed those from religious terrorism in the West for the first time in 2018 and that such deaths are expected to rise due to “political instability and violence” caused by the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout.

The U.S. and U.K. had the highest number of terror-related deaths in the West, ranked at 29 and 30 on the index, respectively.

Overall, 13,826 people died in 2019 from terrorism, marking a 15 percent drop from 2018.

“As we enter a new decade we are seeing new threats of terrorism emerge. The rise of the far-right in the West and the deteriorations in the Sahel are prime examples. Additionally, as seen in the recent attacks in France and Austria, many smaller groups sympathetic to ISIL philosophies are still active,” said Institute for Economics & Peace Chair Steve Killelea. 

“To break these influences three major initiatives are needed — to break their media coverage and online social networks, disrupt their funding and lessen the number of sympathisers.”