The State Department released a revised version of its
annual terrorist report that determined the bloodiest region for
Americans in 2003 was the Middle East.
On Tuesday, the department re-issued its "Patterns of Global Terrorism"
report that showed an increase in attacks deemed terrorist during 2003. The
revised study more than doubled the number of terrorist casualties found in
the original version released in April 2004.
The corrected report said 35 U.S. citizens were killed in terrorist
attacks in 2003. Most of the U.S. victims were in the Middle East.
The largest number of Americans killed in the Middle East were targeted
by Palestinian groups, the report said. The revised report cited Palestinian
attacks on Americans in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported.
The Palestinian attack that resulted in the largest number of U.S.
casualties took place on Aug. 19, 2003 when five Americans were killed in a
suicide bombing attack on a bus that was leaving Jerusalem's Western Wall.
The revised report also cited the killing of three U.S. embassy security
guards in a bombing of their convoy north of Gaza City on Oct. 15.
The bloodiest attack on Americans in the Middle East was the multiple
suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia on May 12,
2003. Nine Americans were killed when Al Qaida operatives drove car-bombs
into the Riyad compound of Vinnell Corp., which has been training the Saudi
The revised report also led to new assessments of the trend in
global terrorism. U.S. officials said the increase in the number of injured
in 2003 was the result of insurgency targeting of civilian facilities.
"The increase reflects the numerous indiscriminate attacks during 2003
on soft targets, such as places of worship, hotels, and commercial
districts, intended to produce mass casualties," the report said.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the initial report contained
accounting errors by the new Terrorist Threat Incident Center. Powell said
the original report issued on April 28 did not seek to present a false
picture of global terrorism.
"We have spent the last two weeks going back through years and years of
data, and assembling not only the data, but how were things categorized,
what system was in place, so to see if we could have solid trend analysis
over time," Powell said. "And we discovered gaps in the data. We discovered
errors in the way the data was being added up."
The new report said 67 attacks deemed terrorist took place in the Middle
East in 2003.