The number of global deaths from terrorism fell 15.2 percent in 2018, even as the number of countries affected by extremist violence continued to grow, the 2019 Global Terrorism Index showed.
From a high of 33,555 deaths in 2014, when the Islamic State (IS) group lured tens of thousands of jihadists to the Middle East, the number of terrorism deaths has more than halved to 15,952 in 2018, the index published by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) showed.
The largest declines in 2018 were recorded in Iraq, which proclaimed a military victory over IS the previous year, and Somalia, where US forces have been conducting airstrikes against Shabaab extremists since 2017.
For the first time since 2003, Iraq was not the country worst-hit by terrorism, according to the index which defines terrorism 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”.
Afghanistan, where the Taliban succeeded IS as the world’s deadliest terror group, topped the table with 1,443 attacks killing 7,379 people, ahead of Iraq with 1,131 attacks that left 1,054 dead and Nigeria, with 562 attacks that killed 2,040 people.
Syria, which counted 131 incidents that claimed 662 lives, ranked fourth.
In Europe, where no major terror attack was recorded in 2018, the number of deaths fell from over 200 in 2017 to 62.
The report also noted that while “the intensity of terrorism has declined...terrorism is still widespread and increasing.”