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National Counterterrorism Center: Annex of Statistical Information


Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Report
August 18, 2011

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Information cut off date: March 23, 2011

Consistent with its statutory mission to serve as the United States government's knowledge bank on international terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is providing the Department of State with required statistical information to assist in the satisfaction of its reporting requirements under Section 2656f of title 22 of the US Code (USC).

This statute requires the State Department to include in its annual report on terrorism "to the extent practicable, complete statistical information on the number of individuals, including United States citizens and dual nationals, killed, injured, or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding calendar year." While NCTC keeps statistics on the annual number of incidents of "terrorism," its ability to track the specific groups responsible for each incident involving killings, kidnappings, and injuries is significantly limited by the availability of reliable open source information, particularly for events involving small numbers of casualties. Moreover, specific details about victims, damage, perpetrators, and other incident elements are frequently not fully reported in open source information.

• The statistical material in this report, therefore, is drawn from the incidents of "terrorism" that occurred in 2010 as reported in open source information. This material is the most comprehensive body of information available to NCTC for compiling data that it can provide to satisfy the above-referenced statistical requirements.

This Annex is provided for statistical purposes only. The statistical information contained in the Annex is based on factual reports from a variety of open sources that may be of varying credibility. Any assessments regarding the nature of the incidents or the factual circumstances thereof are offered only as part of the analytic work product of the National Counterterrorism Center and may not reflect the assessments of other departments and agencies of the United States Government. Nothing in this report should be construed as a determination that individuals associated with the underlying incidents are guilty of terrorism or any other criminal offense. As with all entries in the Worldwide Incident Tracking System, the statistical information will be modified, as necessary and appropriate, when and if the underlying incidents are finally adjudicated.

In deriving its figures for incidents of terrorism, NCTC in 2005 adopted the definition of "terrorism" that appears in the 22 USC § 2656f(d)(2), i.e., "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."

NCTC posts information in the repository for the US government's database on terror attacks, the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS). WITS is accessible on the NCTC Web site for the public to have an open and transparent view of the NCTC data. A detailed description of the methodology and counting rules is also available on the Web site, as is a geospatial tool to allow mapping of the data. NCTC will ensure that the data posted to the Web site is updated as often as necessary by regularly posting information about new or prior attacks.

Tracking and analyzing terrorist incidents can help to understand important characteristics about terrorism, including the geographic distribution of attacks and information about the perpetrators, their victims, and other details. Year-to-year changes in the gross number of attacks across the globe, however, may tell little about the international community's effectiveness either for preventing these incidents or for reducing the capacity of terrorists to advance their agenda through violence against the innocent.

Incidents of Terrorism, Worldwide*

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Attacks worldwide

14,371

14,414

11,662

10,969

11,604

Attacks resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping

11,258

11,085

8,358

7,874

8,249

Attacks resulting in the death of at least 10 individuals

295

353

234

236

192

Attacks resulting in the death of at least 1 individual

7,393

7,229

5,040

4,761

4,702

Attacks resulting in the death of only 1 individual

4,117

3,982

2,870

2,695

2,690

Attacks resulting in the death of 0 individuals

6,978

7,185

6,622

6,208

6,902

Attacks resulting in the injury of at least 1 individual

5,771

6,230

4,829

4,530

4,715

Attacks resulting in the kidnapping of at least 1 individual

1,343

1,156

946

882

1,116

People killed, injured or kidnapped as a result of terrorism, worldwide

74,695

71,795

54,263

58,711

49,901

People killed as a result of terrorism, worldwide

20,487

22,719

15,708

15,310

13,186

People injured as a result of terrorism, worldwide

38,413

44,095

33,885

32,651

30,665

People kidnapped as a result of terrorism, worldwide

15,795

4,981

4,670

10,750

6,050

 

Incidents of Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan*

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Attacks in Iraq

6,608

6,210

3,255

2,458

2,688

Attacks in Iraq resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping

6,010

5,575

2,900

2,179

2,359

People killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of terrorism in Iraq

38,817

44,014

19,077

16,869

15,109

Attacks in Afghanistan

964

1,122

1,221

2,125

3,307

Attacks in Afghanistan resulting in at least 1 death, injury, or kidnapping

691

889

950

1,451

2,053

People killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result of terrorism in Afghanistan

3,534

4,647

5,479

7,582

9,016

*Attacks are limited to attacks against noncombatant targets. Numbers represented in table for 2006 through 2009 are updated since the 2009 publication and based on data in the Worldwide Incidents Tracking Systems .

NCTC OBSERVATIONS RELATED TO TERRORIST INCIDENTS STATISTICAL MATERIAL

Over 11,500 terrorist attacks occurred in 72 countries in 2010, resulting in approximately 50,000 victims, including almost 13,200 deaths. Although the number of attacks rose by almost 5 percent over the previous year, the number of deaths declined for a third consecutive year, dropping 12 percent from 2009. This decline reflected a combination of two factors: a decrease in the number of attacks causing more than five deaths along with an increase in attacks causing no deaths. For the second year in a row, the largest number of reported attacks occurred in South Asia, which also had the largest number of victims for the third consecutive year. More than 75 percent of the world’s terrorist attacks and deaths took place in South Asia and the Near East.

  • The Near East and South Asia in 2010 suffered a combined total of 8,960 attacks that caused 9,960 deaths.
  • Attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq rose in 2010. Almost a quarter of worldwide attacks occurred in Iraq, a slight increase from 2009, although deaths fell for the fourth consecutive year.
  • The number of deaths in Africa fell by more than 30 percent, from 3,239 in 2009 to 2,131 in 2010, although attacks rose slightly, from 853 in 2009 to 878 in 2010. The number of Lord’s Resistance Army attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo declined sharply, but in June Algeria saw its first suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) since September 2008.
  • The number of attacks and deaths in Europe and Eurasia declined slightly in 2010, with the vast majority again occurring in Russia. Attacks fell from 737 in 2009 to 706 in 2010, and deaths fell from 367 in 2009 to 355 in 2010.
  • The fewest incidents in 2010 were reported in the Western Hemisphere, where both attacks and deaths declined by roughly 25 percent. Western Hemisphere attacks fell from 444 in 2009 to 340 in 2010, and deaths fell from 377 in 2009 to 279 in 2010.
  • Terrorist attacks in East Asia declined in 2010, most significantly in Thailand and the Philippines.

PERPETRATORS

Sunni extremists committed almost 60 percent of all worldwide terrorist attacks. These attacks caused approximately 70 percent of terrorism-related deaths, a significant increase from the almost 62 percent in 2009. The following noteworthy attacks are cataloged in WITS.

Largest Sunni Extremist Attacks:

  • On 4 April 2010, in the Mansur and Al Karkh districts of Baghdad, Iraq, three suicide bombers detonated VBIEDs near the Egyptian, German, and Iranian Embassies, killing a combined 42 people and wounding approximately 250 individuals. Police officers safely defused a fourth VBIED in the Karradah district. Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for all the attacks. ICN 201007393
  • On 7 July 2010, in the northern 'Azamiyah district of Baghdad, Iraq, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near a group of Shia pilgrims making their way to the Imam Musa al-Kadhim shrine, killing between 29 and 48 pilgrims and several Sunni civilians and wounding between 133 and 315 pilgrims and several Sunni civilians. No group claimed responsibility, although the Islamic State of Iraq ISI was believed to be responsible. ICN 201012531

Other Notable Sunni Extremist Attacks:

  • On 1 January 2010, in a village in North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, a suicide bomber detonated a VBIED at a volleyball game, killing 97 civilians, six soldiers, and two police officers. Another 100 civilians, three soldiers, and several children were wounded in the attack. No group claimed responsibility, although the Taliban was widely believed to be responsible. ICN 201000049
  • On 11 July 2010, al-Shabaab conducted and claimed responsibility for its largest and most complex attack to date in Kampala, Uganda, killing 76 and wounding 114 civilians. ICN 201010950
  • On 1 September 2010, assailants threw a grenade and two suicide bombers detonated IEDs targeting a Shia Muslim procession in Lahore, Pakistan, killing 40 and wounding 272. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar i Jhangvi both claimed responsibility. ICN 201014275

Attacks Perpetrated by Other Groups:

Of the remaining attacks, secular, political, or anarchist groups accounted for almost 16 percent of the total, roughly the same proportion as in 2009. Christian extremist attacks fell sharply from 1,052 in 2009 to 321 in 2010.

  • On 24 March 2010, in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, a VBIED exploded in the vicinity of the Attorney General's office and City Hall, killing one police officer, three government employees, and five civilians. One police officer, two journalists, five government employees, and 43 other people were wounded. No group claimed responsibility, although authorities believed FARC was responsible. ICN 201007106
  • On 28 May 2010, in West Midnapore, West Bengal, India, assailants removed a piece of railroad track and derailed a train, killing 148 civilians and wounding 200 others. The People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) claimed responsibility. ICN 201009593
  • On 24 June 2010, in Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Urban Area, Greece, firebombs exploded at the Marfin Bank branch, damaging the bank but causing no injuries. Groups for Dissemination of Revolutionary Theory and Action claimed responsibility. ICN 201011843

TYPES OF ATTACKS

Armed attacks in 2010 continued to be the most prevalent form of attack, accounting for more than a third of the total. Bombings, including suicide attacks, were far more lethal, causing almost 70 percent of all deaths. In particular, suicide bombings continued to be the most lethal type of terrorist attack, resulting in nearly 13.5 percent of all terrorism-related deaths. Sunni extremists conducted 93 percent of all suicide attacks in 2010.

  • Suicide attacks declined for a second consecutive year, from 299 in 2009 to 263 in 2010, just under 2 percent of all terrorist attacks last year.
  • On the Indian subcontinent in 2010, armed attacks increased but bombings decreased.
  • Kidnapping events declined worldwide, although they jumped in the Gaza Strip from 767 in 2009 to 1,057 during 2010 as HAMAS targeted Fatah leaders and members.

VICTIMS AND TARGETS OF ATTACKS

Muslims continued to bear the brunt of terrorism based on the fact that most terrorist attacks occurred in predominantly Muslim countries. Somalia hosted the largest number of attacks with 10 or more deaths followed by Pakistan. Although Iraq and Pakistan had the same number of attacks with 10 or more deaths, those in Iraq produced more fatalities.

  • Iraq had the largest overall number of terrorism victims with 12,087, of whom 2,704 died.
  • Afghanistan had the second largest number of terrorism victims at 7,039; 2,475 died. Pakistan had 5,555 victims; 1,680 died.
  • Analysis of WITS data indicates that more than half of those killed by terrorist attacks worldwide in 2010 were civilians; more than 600 were children.
  • Police and other paramilitary or private security officers accounted for more than 2,000 victims. The percentage of police victims in 2010 rose nearly 2 percent over 2009.



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