State Dept. report on terror trends again singles out Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, June 3, 2016

Terrorists launched 11,774 attacks worldwide in 2015, but the scope was “increasingly decentralized and diffuse,” according to a new U.S. report.

Despite the signing of a nuclear accord with world powers and the ending of international sanctions, Iran continued its reign as the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism, the U.S. State Department said on June 2.

Hizbullah continues to be “Iran’s primary beneficiary and terrorist partner,” the State Department said in its report on global terrorism for 2015.

Hizbullah fighters in Syria in May 2015. /Reuters
Hizbullah fighters in Syria in May 2015. /Reuters

Teheran has also “increased its arming and funding of Iraqi Shia terrorist groups” which has “served to exacerbate sectarian tensions.” The Shia groups have committed “serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians,” the report said.

Iran was also implicated in violent Shia opposition raids in Bahrain, where Teheran is accused of fomenting unrest and supplying weapons to Shi’ite militants behind several bomb attacks on security forces. Iran has denied the claims.

Overall, terrorist attacks fell by 13 percent compared with 2014, while fatalities caused by terrorist activity declined by 14 percent. The State Department’s acting coordinator for counter terrorism, Justin Siberell, said the drop was due to fewer attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Terrorist attacks and deaths increased in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Syria and Turkey, according to Siberell.

“The global terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2015, becoming increasingly decentralized and diffuse,” the report said.

“Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the past several years.”

Data compiled by the University of Maryland for the State Department showed there were 11,774 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2015, in which more than 28,300 people died and roughly 35,300 others were wounded.

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) posed the greatest terrorism threat globally despite significant losses in territory in Iraq and Syria last year, the report said. The terror organization made significant gains in Libya, however, where it has about 5,000 fighters, the report said.

ISIL also gained new allegiances from terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, other parts of the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and throughout Africa, most notably Boko Haram, the report said.