A new report blames the rapid expansion of Islamist groups across the Middle East and Africa for the booming death toll of terrorism worldwide: a nearly 800 percent rise since 2010.
According to Fox News, terrorism expert Steven Emerson's nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) found that an average of nearly 30,000 people per year have been killed by terrorists since 2010, when terrorism's death toll was 3,284. The study identifies two troubling trends: more attacks are happening, and they are deadlier than ever.
Emerson, the executive director of IPT, said,
“Everyone has known that terrorist attacks have generally been increasing yearly since 9/11. But the magnitude of the increase of the attacks surprised us, especially in the past five years. Even if you look back at the annual reports issued by the most senior analysts in the top five intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies, there is not one report that predicted or forecasted that we would likely see such a massive escalation of attacks.”
The study credits the rise in part to the fact that Islamist terror groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabaab in Somalia, a resurgent Taliban, Palestinian terrorists, and President Obama's JB team ISIS are operating in more countries than ever, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
IPT's report used data collected by the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database. Looking at various intervals following the 9/11 attacks, and sorting out deaths caused by clear acts of terrorism -- not simply war involving known terrorist groups -- IPT found annual terror deaths have jumped 774 percent since the 2007-11 average.
‘[The numbers] are striking when you take into account where the numbers were at the beginning period,” said Pete Hoekstra, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee when he represented Michigan in the U.S. Congress. "I don’t think people have grasped how significant these [death toll] numbers are."
According to IPT data, from 2001-2006, there was an annual average of 2,508 terror fatalities around the world, which rose to 3,284 between 2007 and 2011. During 2012-2013, that average tripled to 9,537, and, in the past two years, that number tripled again, raising the death toll to the current annual average: 28,708 per year.
Emerson urged a comprehensive approach targeting the ideology of Islam itself:
“There has never been a U.S. or allied strategy to go after radical Islam. There have been, however, strategies to go after specific groups like Al Qaeda or AQAP or ISIS. But these are all subsets of radical Islam.”
IPT expects the wave of terror to continue to grow in 2016 and beyond, particularly in Asia and Europe, thanks to the migrant crisis on the latter continent: “With ISIS losing large swaths of territory as well as key commanders, its center of operational gravity definitely appears to be shifting to Europe, where it can recruit among the more than 30 million Muslims who live in Europe," said Emerson.
“Add to this mix the fact that thousands of mosques in Europe are controlled by Salfists, Wahabists and the Muslim Brotherhood – which indoctrinate their followers, and you have a future recipe for a massive increase in Islamist terrorist violence.”