The American State Department annual terrorism report released on Wednesday has hinted that there were 8,584 terrorist attacks around the world in 2017, a 23 percent decline from 2016.
The report stated that more than 18,700 people were killed, about a quarter of whom were the perpetrators themselves, with the death toll representing a 27 percent drop from the previous year.
According to Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, the Islamic State suffered serious declines in 2017, Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias remain deadly threats, maintaining that much of the reason for the decrease in attacks was the improved security situation in Iraq.
More than half of all terrorist attacks worldwide took place in just five countries: Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines. Seventy percent of all deaths from terrorist attacks occurred in a different and overlapping set of five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria.
While four countries are designated as State sponsors of terrorism, the report highlighted Iran as a top threat. The report said Iran is undermining legitimate governments and American interests in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
The seven-year civil war in Syria has given Hezbollah, an Iran proxy, valuable battlefield experience, the report said.
The other three State sponsors of terrorism are North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Smaller terrorist groups were also mentioned in the report, including Boko Haram in several African countries and Real IRA in Northern Ireland. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba were cited as threats to South Asia generally.