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State Department: Global terror-attack fatalities spiked 81 percent in 2014

By Amy R. Connolly
State Department: Global terror-attack fatalities spiked 81 percent in 2014
Syrians try to climb the fence while hundreds of refugees wait at the Syrian side of the border crossing in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province in southeast Turkey on June 14. They are trying to cross to the Turkish side as they are fleeing from the fighting between the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) military group and Islamic State (ISIS). The State Department found a sharp rise in the number of terrorist attacks and people killed by terrorist worldwide in 2014. Photo by Ebrahem Khadir/ UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) -- The State Department said the number of terrorist attacks and people killed by terrorists worldwide spiked in 2014, largely due to the rise in Islamic State extremists in the Middle East and the Boko Haram in Africa.

The annual Country Report on Terrorism found terror groups have ramped up their ability to inflict mass casualties, saying the total number of terrorist-attack-related fatalities jumped 81 percent to 32,727 in 2014. The total number of attacks increased by 35 percent to 13,463. Pakistan and India terrorist activities also contributed to the increase, the report said. More than 9,400 people were taken hostage or kidnapped, three times more than in 2013.

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The report stated the IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has replaced al-Qaida as a major extremist group.

"The prominence of the threat once posed by core al-Qaida diminished in 2014, largely as a result of continued leadership losses suffered by the AQ core in Pakistan and Afghanistan," the report said. "AQ leadership also appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of ISIL's rapid expansion and proclamation of a Caliphate."

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When asked by reporters at a State Department briefing Friday about the effectiveness of the U.S. in combating terrorism globally, Tina Kaidanow, the department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said "the numbers don't tell the whole story."

"They're geographically very much in conflict areas and the lethality of those attacks have really gone up because of the savagery of them," she said.

The report blamed weak and failed governments, especially in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, for offering an "enabling environment" for such groups.

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