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National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: Annex of Statistical Information


Bureau of Counterterrorism
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Statistical Information on Terrorism in 2013

Title 22, Section 2656f of the United States Code requires the Department of State 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." The definition found in Title 22 of the US Code provides that terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” From 2004 to 2011, the data for the Annex of Statistical Information were collected by the National Counterterrorism Center, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, through the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS).

Beginning in June 2012, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) contracted with the US Department of State to collect a Statistical Annex dataset and provide a report to include in the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism. Since 2001, START has maintained the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), an unclassified event database compiled from information in open-source reports of terrorist attacks. The first version of the GTD was released in 2006 and included information on worldwide terrorism from 1970 to 1997. START routinely updates and improves the accuracy of the data. The full GTD (1970-2012) and accompanying documentation are available to the public at www.start.umd.edu/gtd. The GTD staff compiled the Statistical Annex dataset to include violent acts carried out by non-state actors that meet all of the GTD inclusion criteria: [1]

  1. The violent act was aimed at attaining a political, economic, religious, or social goal;
  2. The violent act included evidence of an intention to coerce, intimidate, or convey some other message to a larger audience (or audiences) other than the immediate victims; and
  3. The violent act was outside the precepts of International Humanitarian Law insofar as it targeted non-combatants.

These data represent START’s best efforts to report the most comprehensive, valid information on terrorism, based on the availability of open-source data and resources. The GTD research staff continually evaluates and enhances the methodology to promote comprehensive, accurate, and systematic data collection. In particular, in 2012 START developed data collection tools that expand the number of sources available for analysis and automate the selection of potentially relevant articles from which GTD staff identify unique attacks and record their specific details.

Due to the evolution in data collection methodology with respect to both WITS and prior versions of the GTD it is important to note that the data presented here are not directly comparable with data from either of these sources prior to 2012. In general, comparisons of aggregate statistics over time and between locations should be interpreted with caution due to considerable variation in the availability of source materials.

This Annex of Statistical Information is a guide to worldwide terrorist activity as reported by unclassified sources. We hope that these data will be useful for improving knowledge about patterns and characteristics of terrorism, and helpful for maintaining global awareness of the threat it poses.

The Annex of Statistical Information is provided for statistical purposes only. The statistical information contained in the Annex is based on reports from a variety of open sources that may be of varying credibility. 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 records in the Global Terrorism Database, the information may be modified, as necessary and appropriate, if new information becomes available.

Any assessments and descriptions, including those regarding the nature of the incidents or the factual circumstances thereof, are offered only as part of the analytic work product of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) and may not reflect the views of the United States Government.


INCIDENTS OF TERRORISM WORLDWIDE

In 2013, a total of 9,707 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide, resulting in more than 17,800 deaths and more than 32,500 injuries. In addition, more than 2,990 people were kidnapped or taken hostage. In this report we describe patterns of worldwide terrorist activity with respect to changes during the year, geographic concentration, casualties, perpetrator organizations, tactics, weapons, and targets.

Table 1: Terrorist attacks and casualties worldwide by month, 2013

Month

Total
Attacks

Total
Killed

Total
Wounded

Total Kidnapped/
Taken Hostage

January

669

1022

2043

986

February

567

991

1840

118

March

639

1027

1881

145

April

804

1123

2533

148

May

924

1557

3448

172

June

685

1542

2326

313

July

898

1862

3151

176

August

842

1918

3683

126

September

761

2034

3296

199

October

934

1639

2702

199

November

1007

1448

2649

144

December

977

1728

3025

264

Total

9707

17891

32577

2990


  • On average, there were 808.91 attacks, 1,490.92 deaths, and 2,714.75 injuries per month in 2013. There were 1.84 fatalities and 3.36 injuries per attack, including perpetrator casualties.
  • The high number of hostages in January (986) was primarily due to a single extended hostage/barricade attack near In Amenas, Algeria in which approximately 800 people were held hostage at a British Petroleum (BP) gas complex. Al-Muwaqqi'un bil-Dima (Those Who Sign with Blood), a sub-battalion of the al-Mulathamun Battalion, claimed responsibility for the attack, which lasted three days.
  • Global patterns of terrorism throughout the year were particularly influenced by trends in several key locations. In particular, terrorist violence increased coinciding with the onset of spring “fighting season” in Afghanistan. Between February and July 2013, the number of attacks in Afghanistan increased 128% and the number killed increased 253%.
  • Pakistan and Iraq experienced similar increases in attacks during this time period. Although the number of attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan subsequently declined, the number of attacks and fatalities reported in Iraq continued to increase throughout the rest of 2013.


LOCATION

Table 2: Ten countries with the most terrorist attacks, 2013

Country

Total
Attacks

Total
Killed

Total
Wounded

Average Number 
Killed per Attack

Average Number
Wounded per Attack

Iraq

2495

6378

14956

2.56

5.99

Pakistan

1920

2315

4989

1.21

2.60

Afghanistan

1144

3111

3717

2.72

3.25

India

622

405

717

0.65

1.15

Philippines

450

279

413

0.62

0.92

Thailand

332

131

398

0.39

1.20

Nigeria

300

1817

457

6.06

1.52

Yemen

295

291

583

0.99

1.98

Syria[2]

212

1074

1773

5.07

8.36

Somalia

197

408

485

2.07

2.46


  • The ten countries that experienced the most terrorist attacks in 2013 are the same as those that experienced the most terrorist attacks in 2012. The ranking in terms of total attacks increased for Iraq, the Philippines, and Syria, decreased for Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia, and remained the same for Afghanistan, India, and Thailand. The number of total attacks increased for nine of the ten countries in Table 2. In Nigeria, the number of total attacks decreased 45 percent between 2012 and 2013; however, the total number killed increased 31 percent.
  • Although terrorist attacks occurred in 93 different countries in 2013, they were heavily concentrated geographically. More than half of all attacks (57%) and fatalities (66%), and nearly three-quarters of all injuries (73%) occurred in three countries: Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
  • By a wide margin, the highest numbers of attacks, fatalities, and injuries took place in Iraq. The average lethality of attacks in Iraq was nearly 40 percent higher than the global average (1.84 killed per attack) and 33 percent higher than the 2012 average in Iraq (1.92).
  • The average lethality of attacks in Syria (5.07) and Nigeria (6.06) exceeded the global average by 176 percent and 229 percent, respectively. As in 2012, the average number of people wounded in attacks in Syria in 2013 was particularly high at 8.36. This was 149 percent higher than the global average for injuries (3.36), but 38 percent lower than the average number injured in terrorist attacks in Syria in 2012.
  • Among the ten countries that experienced the most terrorist attacks in 2013, the average number killed per attack was lower than the global average for five (Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Thailand, and Yemen), and the average number wounded per attack was lower than the global average for eight (Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia).
     

COUNTRY PROFILES
 

Iraq
 

  • Compared to 2012, there were more than twice as many terrorist attacks reported in Iraq in 2013. Likewise, the total number killed increased 162 percent and the total number wounded increased 125 percent over the previous year.
  • Despite the fact that far more deaths due to terrorist attacks occurred in Iraq than any other country, none of the 15 most lethal individual attacks in 2013 occurred in Iraq. Instead, terrorism in Iraq continues to be marked by extremely deadly coordinated attacks. On 113 occasions in 2013, there were more than 10 attacks on a single day within a particular country and more than two-thirds of them (68%) took place in Iraq. Likewise, there were 45 occasions in 2013 when more than 50 people were killed in terrorist attacks in a particular country on one day and more than half of these highly lethal days (51%) occurred in Iraq.
  • For the vast majority of terrorist attacks in Iraq (84.1%), no perpetrator group was identified. Of the remaining attacks, more than 98 percent were attributed to al-Qa’ida in Iraq, which began referring to itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2013.
  • More than three-quarters of all attacks in Iraq were classified as bombings/explosions and more than 9 percent were suicide attacks. An additional 15.3 percent were armed assaults, and 5.9 percent were assassinations, often targeting government figures and police leadership. The most common types of targets in Iraq were private citizens and property (35.8%), police (26.8%), and general (non-diplomatic) government (9.3%).
  • Attacks in Iraq were heavily concentrated in Baghdad (46.3%), but also occurred in many other cities. The next most frequently attacked location was Mosul, where 10.2 percent of all attacks took place.

Pakistan
 

  • The total number of terrorist attacks reported in Pakistan increased 36.8 percent between 2012 and 2013. Fatalities increased 25.3 percent and injuries increased 36.9 percent.
  • No specific perpetrator organization was identified for 86.2 percent of all attacks in Pakistan. Of the remaining attacks, nearly half (49%) were carried out by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Attacks attributed to the TTP killed more than 550 and wounded more than 1,200 in 2013.
  • Twenty other groups, including a number of Baloch nationalist groups such as the Baloch Republican Army, the Baloch Liberation Army, the Baloch Liberation Front, and the Baloch Liberation Tigers, carried out attacks in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan.
  • More than 37 percent of all attacks in Pakistan took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 28.4 percent took place in Balochistan, and 21.2 percent took place in Sindh province. The proportion of attacks in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) decreased from 19.6 percent in 2012 to 9.4 percent in 2013.
  • The most frequently attacked types of targets in Pakistan were consistent with global patterns. More than 22 percent of all attacks primarily targeted private citizens and property, more than 17 percent primarily targeted the police, and more than 11 percent primarily targeted general (non-diplomatic) government entities. However, these three types of targets accounted for a smaller proportion of attacks in Pakistan (51.1%) than they did globally (61.7%). Instead, terrorist attacks in Pakistan were almost twice as likely to target educational institutions (6.4%) and more than three times as likely to target violent political parties (4.4%), organizations that have at times engaged in both electoral politics and terrorist violence.

Afghanistan
 

  • More than half of all attacks in Afghanistan in 2013 (56.7%) were attributed to a perpetrator group, and nearly all of these (98.6%) were attributed to the Taliban. Two attacks in Afghanistan in 2013, the assassination of Indian author Sushmita Banerjee and a suicide attack targeting the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, were attributed specifically to the Haqqani Network.
  • Unlike in 2012, when attacks against military [3] targets were 24.3 percent more prevalent in Afghanistan than around the world, in 2013 the percentage of attacks against military targets globally increased and was approximately the same as that in Afghanistan (5.2%). Attacks against police targets were especially common in Afghanistan in 2013. In fact, 44.6 percent of all attacks in Afghanistan in 2013 primarily targeted the police, especially checkpoints, patrols, and security forces. This is 80.6 percent higher than the percentage of attacks that targeted police globally.
  • Like in Iraq, suicide attacks continued to be especially frequent in Afghanistan. More than 9 percent of attacks in Afghanistan in 2013 were classified as suicide attacks, compared to 5.3 percent globally.
  • Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan took place throughout the country in 2013. Nearly one-quarter of all attacks (21.6%) took place in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the South; however, 24 other provinces experienced more than 10 attacks in 2013.


CASUALTIES

Figure 1: Casualties due to terrorist attacks worldwide, 2013

Date: 2013 Description: Figure 1: Casualties due to terrorist attacks worldwide, 2013. - State Dept Image

  • Patterns of casualties [4] from terrorist attacks remained remarkably stable between 2012 and 2013. Nearly half of all terrorist attacks in 2013 (49.3%) caused no fatalities and 53 percent caused no injuries. The majority of the non-lethal attacks were bombings (63.8%) and approximately one-quarter of them (26.2%) were unsuccessful attacks (e.g., an explosive was planted but it was defused or failed to detonate).
  • The proportion of attacks that killed only one person was slightly lower in 2013 (21.4%) than it was in 2012 (22.6%), while the proportion of attacks that killed two or more people increased somewhat over the previous year (29.4% in 2013 compared to 27.7% in 2012).
  • Among the attacks that resulted in only one fatality in 2013, 41.0 percent were bombings, 36.1 percent were armed assaults, 17.3 percent were assassinations, and 3.7 percent were kidnappings. In 7.6 percent of attacks that resulted in only one death, the person killed was the perpetrator. More than half of the incidents that killed only a perpetrator were suicide attacks (57.2%), but in the remainder the perpetrator was either killed accidentally when explosives detonated prematurely, or the attack was repelled by authorities.
  • The most lethal single attack in 2013 took place in September in Nigeria, where members of Boko Haram set up illegal checkpoints and killed at least 142 civilians. In total, nearly 6,600 people were killed in attacks that resulted in more than 10 deaths. These attacks took place in 24 different countries, including most frequently: Iraq (91), Nigeria (55), Afghanistan (48), Pakistan (39), and Syria (24).
  • In Afghanistan, one attack in particular caused no deaths, but injured approximately 250 Afghan police officers when they fell ill after being poisoned by an unidentified substance.
  • Nearly 3,000 people were kidnapped or taken hostage in 552 attacks in 2013, 133 percent more hostages than were reported in 2012. More than 1,800 hostages were released, rescued, or escaped from their captors. The remaining hostages were either killed or the outcome of the event was not reported.


PERPETRATORS

Table 3: Ten perpetrator groups with the most attacks worldwide, 2013

Perpetrator Group Name

Total Attacks

Total Killed

Average Number Killed per Attack

Taliban

641

2340

3.65

Al-Qa’ida in Iraq/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

401

1725

4.30

Boko Haram

213

1589

7.46

Maoists (India)/Communist Party of India - Maoist

203

190

0.94

Al-Shabaab

195

512

2.63

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

134

589

4.40

New People's Army (NPA)

118

88

0.75

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)

84

177

2.11

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

77

45

0.58

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM)

34

23

0.68


  • Information about perpetrators was reported in source materials for 32 percent of terrorist attacks in 2013. More than 220 organizations were named as perpetrators of terrorist attacks, including 38 organizations that had not previously been identified as perpetrators in the Global Terrorism Database.
  • In 34.7 percent of the attacks with information about perpetrator groups, the groups explicitly claimed responsibility. In the remaining attacks, source documents attributed responsibility to a particular group or groups based on reports from authorities or observers.
  • Of the attacks for which perpetrator information was reported, more than 20 percent were attributed to the Taliban, operating primarily in Afghanistan. In addition to carrying out the most attacks, the Taliban in Afghanistan was responsible for the greatest number of fatalities in 2013.
  • Along with the Taliban in Afghanistan, five other groups carried out attacks that were more lethal than the global average (1.84 people killed per attack) in 2013: Boko Haram, al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)/ Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Two organizations that were among those with the most attacks in 2012 are no longer listed on Table 3: the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC). The PKK was attributed responsibility for 15 terrorist attacks in 2013, one of which was lethal. The FLNC, which was responsible for property violence in 2012, did not carry out any attacks in 2013.
  • Two organizations from the Philippines that were not among the most active perpetrator groups in 2012 are now on this list: the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM). Although terrorism in the Philippines has increased dramatically in recent years, the average lethality of attacks attributed to these groups is approximately 60 percent lower than the global average. Among the groups on Table 3, only the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) caused fewer fatalities per attack than the NPA and the BIFM.


TACTICS and WEAPONS

Figure 2: Tactics used in terrorist attacks worldwide, 2013

Date: 2013 Description: Figure 2: Tactics used in terrorist attacks worldwide, 2013. Facility/Infrastructure Attack 6%; Hostage Taking 6%; Bombing/Explosion 57%; Armed Assault 23%; Assassination 8%.  - State Dept Image

  • Each recorded terrorist attack can involve one or more tactics in a continuous sequence of actions. The most commonly used tactic in 2013 involved explosives, followed by armed assaults, which almost always involved firearms.
  • Although the pattern of tactics generally remained stable between 2012 and 2013, bombings and armed assaults were relatively less prevalent in 2013, while assassinations, facility/infrastructure attacks, and hostage takings (a combination of kidnapping and barricade events) were relatively more prevalent. In particular, the percentage of attacks classified as bombings decreased from 62 percent to 57 percent, and the percentage of armed assaults decreased from 25 percent to 23 percent. Assassinations, which comprised 5 percent of all attacks in 2012, increased to 8 percent, and both facility attacks and hostage takings increased from 4 percent to 6 percent of all tactics used in 2013.
  • In addition to the tactics shown in Figure 2, there were 31 unarmed assaults in 2013, 10 of which involved chemical or biological agents. In addition, 13 hijackings were carried out, all involving cars, trucks, buses, and one ambulance, but no aircraft or maritime targets.
  • Worldwide, 510 suicide attacks took place in 2013, resulting in more than 3,800 deaths and more than 7,700 injuries. Suicide attacks in 2013 were 4.9 times as lethal as non-suicide attacks.


TARGETS

Table 4: Targets of terrorist attacks worldwide, 2013

Target Type

Number of Targets

Private Citizens & Property

3035

Police

2388

Government (General)

1376

Business

862

Military

621

Religious Figures & Institutions

383

Educational Institutions

354

Terrorists & Non-State Militia

270

Transportation

253

Utilities

244

Journalists & Media

167

Violent Political Party[5]

137

Government (Diplomatic)

102

Telecommunication

68

NGO

51

Other

41

Airports & Airlines

29

Tourists

16

Maritime

11

Food or Water Supply

7

Total

10415


  • More than half of all targets attacked in 2013 (52.1%) were classified as either private citizens and property or police. Attacks in Iraq were particularly likely to target private citizens and property. Attacks targeting police were most frequently aimed at police officers, security forces, or patrols and took place disproportionately in Afghanistan. The most ubiquitous target of attacks in 2013 was general (non-diplomatic) government entities, which were attacked in 59 countries.
  • Although attacks on educational targets in 2013 remained heavily concentrated in Pakistan (37.6%), they were much less concentrated in Nigeria than they were in the previous year (6.2% took place in Nigeria in 2013 compared to 17.5% in 2012). In comparison to incidents in 2012, a higher proportion of attacks on educational institutions took place in Iraq, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh in 2013.
  • Attacks on religious figures and institutions took place in 32 countries in 2013. These attacks were the most lethal, on average, resulting in 3.1 deaths per attack. The average lethality of attacks on religious figures and institutions increased 21 percent between 2012 and 2013.
  • Attacks on journalists and media targets were also widespread in 2013, occurring in 36 countries, though most commonly in Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and the Philippines.
  • Attacks on journalists and media targets were most frequently classified as assassinations (28.4%), kidnappings (21%), and armed assaults (21%).


[1] Readers familiar with the GTD will note that inclusion in the GTD proper from which the Statistical Annex data set was derived requires that an event meet at least two out of the three inclusion criteria. In consultation with the US Department of State, START determined that it was appropriate to include in the Statistical Annex dataset only those events for which all three criteria were met in order to adhere to the definition established in the US Code. In addition, the Statistical Annex dataset excludes any events in the GTD for which there was considerable uncertainty or conflicting reports regarding the inclusion criteria.

[2] Given the limitations of media coverage in Syria, the data presented here are conservative estimates of terrorism in Syria in 2013. Consistent with START’s practice of including in the GTD only those attacks that have been verified by at least one well-regarded source, the statistics presented in this Annex of Statistical Information represent those incidents that were reported by independent news outlets.

[3] Although the Statistical Annex dataset excludes attacks against combatant targets, it includes attacks in which perpetrators indiscriminately targeted both combatants and non-combatants.

[4]Total casualty statistics presented here include perpetrator casualties.

[5] “Violent Political Parties” are organizations that engage in electoral politics and are also attributed responsibility for terrorist attacks in the Global Terrorism Database.

 



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