Terror attacks levelled out, says 10-year study

Bomb blast in Kirkuk, Iraq. 27 Nov 2012 Attacks in Iraq accounted for a large part of the global total of terror incidents

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A study into international terrorism over the past decade says the number of attacks has levelled out since 2007.

The Global Terrorism Index, drawn up by the Institute for Economics and Peace, says attacks rose steadily from 2002 to 2007.

It says that more than a third of all victims between 2002 and 2011 were Iraqi.

The index ranks and compares 158 countries over a 10-year period to shed light on the impact of terrorism.

It says that the biggest rise took place between 2005-2007, driven by events in Iraq.

Pakistan, India and Afghanistan accounted for 12%, 11% and 10% of global terrorist incidents respectively from 2002 to 2009, the report said.

Thailand, the Philippines and Russia also accounted for a notable portion at 5%, 4%, and 4% respectively.

"The overall global trend does give some hope for optimism as the steep increase in terrorist activity experienced from 2003 to 2007 has halted, however the deteriorating situation in Syria and other future possible conflicts in the Middle-East could reverse the situation," the report said.

Fatal attacks in Western Europe have decreased since 2002 but it still had 19 times more deaths than the US, the study shows, although the time-frame means the 9/11 attacks of 2001 are not included.

North America was highlighted as the region least likely to suffer a terrorist incident, followed by Western Europe and Latin America.

Only 31 nations did not experience a terrorist attack between 2002 and 2011, the study revealed.

The study says al-Qaeda is much weakened and responsible for only one of 4,564 attacks carried out in 2011 - however correspondents say that does not include al-Qaeda's affiliates such as those in Yemen and North Africa which are responsible for hundreds of other deaths.

The index 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".

Among its key findings, the study argues that low income countries are less likely to suffer from terrorism than lower middle-income countries, suggesting that poverty is not a prime motive for attacks.

It says terrorism correlates with low political stability, low cohesion between various groups in society, human rights violations and high levels of group grievances.

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